Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Exp Brain Res. 1989;75(3):586-98.

Sensorimotor characteristics of speech motor sequences.

Author information

Speech Motor Control Laboratories, Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53705.


The present experiment focused on the characteristics of sequential speech movements. Subjects generated two successive lip and jaw closing movements associated with the two 'p's' in 'sapapple'. By selectively manipulating the lower lip perturbation it was possible to discern the role of somatic sensory interactions with the presumed sequential movement programming. Lower lip perturbation duration was manipulated to yield two different load conditions. In the Load On (LN) condition, the perturbation remained on for both closing movements. In the Load On/Off (LNF) condition, the perturbation was removed at variable times prior to the second closing movement. Analyses focused on comparing the EMG and resulting kinematic changes for the second "p" closure across the two load conditions relative to the normal control (no load) condition. The second "p" closure was differentially affected by the load conditions resulting in changes in the upper and lower lip compensations. Upper lip changes reflected consistent load duration differences; however, the magnitude of the lower lip EMG and kinematic adjustments did not mirror those of the upper lip. In contrast to the differential upper lip/lower lip changes observed for the magnitude adjustments, timing adjustments were similar for both upper lip and lower lip suggesting a separation between the specification of magnitude and timing of speech movements. Differential load effects were also observed for the timing of the second closing movements. For the LN condition, the onset of muscle activity and subsequent movement occurred earlier (re: control); for the LNF condition, load removal delayed the onset of muscle activity and the subsequent movement (re: control). Further, the opening movement preceding the second closing movement was modified for both load conditions suggesting that all movements in the sequence, not just closing movements, can be modified. The present results suggest that the programming of speech movement sequences is a dynamic process involving scaling and timing of motor commands relying on various degrees of sensory interaction. The apparent separation in the magnitude and timing specification of the movement sequences suggests the parallel influences of different neural systems. The consequence of this control scheme is that specification of movement parameters for sequential motor acts is a flexible real-time sensorimotor process interacting with less-flexible well-established central motor relations. Further, motor program for speech may reflect certain generalized movement actions (e.g., oral opening, oral closing) rather than individual words, syllables, or other linguistic categories programmed on a movement-to-movement basis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Support Center