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Speech compensation responses and sensorimotor adaptation to formant feedback perturbations


Control of speech formants is important for the production of distinguishable speech sounds and is achieved with both feedback and learned feedforward control. However, it is unclear whether the learning of feedforward control involves the mechanisms of feedback control. Speakers have been shown to compensate for unpredictable transient mid-utterance perturbations of pitch and loudness feedback, demonstrating online feedback control of these speech features. To determine whether similar feedback control mechanisms exist in the production of formants, responses to unpredictable vowel formant feedback perturbations were examined. Results showed similar within-trial compensatory responses to formant perturbations that were presented at utterance onset and mid-utterance. The relationship between online feedback compensation to unpredictable formant perturbations and sensorimotor adaptation to consistent formant perturbations was further examined. Within-trial online compensation responses were not correlated with across-trial sensorimotor adaptation. A detailed analysis of within-trial time course dynamics across trials during sensorimotor adaptation revealed that across-trial sensorimotor adaptation responses did not result from an incorporation of within-trial compensation response. These findings suggest that online feedback compensation and sensorimotor adaptation are governed by distinct neural mechanisms. These findings have important implications for models of speech motor control in terms of how feedback and feedforward control mechanisms are implemented.

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