Send to

Choose Destination
J Speech Hear Res. 1996 Apr;39(2):365-78.

The equilibrium point hypothesis and its application to speech motor control.

Author information

Institut de la Communication Parlée, Grenoble, France.


In this paper, we address a number of issues in speech research in the context of the equilibrium point hypothesis of motor control. The hypothesis suggests that movements arise from shifts in the equilibrium position of the limb or the speech articulator. The equilibrium is a consequence of the interaction of central neural commands, reflex mechanisms, muscle properties, and external loads, but it is under the control of central neural commands. These commands act to shift the equilibrium via centrally specified signals acting at the level of the motoneurone (MN) pool. In the context of a model of sagittal plane jaw and hyoid motion based on the lambda version of the equilibrium point hypothesis, we consider the implications of this hypothesis for the notion of articulatory targets. We suggest that simple linear control signals may underlie smooth articulatory trajectories. We explore as well the phenomenon of intraarticulator coarticulation in jaw movement. We suggest that even when no account is taken of upcoming context, that apparent anticipatory changes in movement amplitude and duration may arise due to dynamics. We also present a number of simulations that show in different ways how variability in measured kinematics can arise in spite of constant magnitude speech control signals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center