Research Article| Volume 37, ISSUE 3, P466.e1-466.e15, May 2023

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Changes in Spoken and Sung Productions Following Adaptation to Pitch-shifted Auditory Feedback

  • Razieh Alemi
    Corresponding author: Razieh Alemi, Royal Victoria Hospital Suite DO5.5713, 1001 Decarie Boulevard, H4A 3J1, Montréal, QC.
    Department of Otolaryngology, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

    Centre for Research on Brain, Language & Music (CRBLM), Montreal, Quebec, Canada

    International Laboratory for Brain, Music & Sound Research (BRAMS), Montreal, Quebec, Canada

    Laboratory for Hearing and Cognition, Department of Psychology, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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  • Alexandre Lehmann
    Department of Otolaryngology, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

    Centre for Research on Brain, Language & Music (CRBLM), Montreal, Quebec, Canada

    International Laboratory for Brain, Music & Sound Research (BRAMS), Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Search for articles by this author
  • Mickael L.D. Deroche
    Department of Otolaryngology, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

    Centre for Research on Brain, Language & Music (CRBLM), Montreal, Quebec, Canada

    International Laboratory for Brain, Music & Sound Research (BRAMS), Montreal, Quebec, Canada

    Laboratory for Hearing and Cognition, Department of Psychology, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Search for articles by this author



      Using voice to speak or to sing is made possible by remarkably complex sensorimotor processes. Like any other sensorimotor system, the speech motor controller guides its actions with maximum performance at minimum cost, using available sources of information, among which, auditory feedback plays a major role. Manipulation of this feedback forces the speech monitoring system to refine its expectations for further actions. The present study hypothesizes that the duration of this refinement and the weight applied on different feedbacks loops would depend on the intended sounds to be produced, namely reading aloud versus singing.

      Material and Methods

      We asked participants to sing “Happy Birthday” and read a paragraph of Harry Potter before and after experiencing pitch-shifted feedback. A detailed fundamental frequency (F0) analysis was conducted for each note in the song and each segment in the paragraph (at the level of a sentence, a word, or a vowel) to determine whether some aspects of F0 production changed in response to the pitch perturbations experienced during the adaptation paradigm.


      Our results showed that changes in the degree of F0-drift across the song or the paragraph was the metric that was the most consistent with a carry-over effect of adaptation, and in this regard, reading new material was more influenced by recent remapping than singing.


      The motor commands used by (normally-hearing) speakers are malleable via altered-feedback paradigms, perhaps more so when reading aloud than when singing. But these effects are not revealed through simple indicators such as an overall change in mean F0 or F0 range, but rather through subtle metrics, such as a drift of the voice pitch across the recordings.


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