Task-Dependent Modulation of Auditory Feedback Control of Vocal Intensity

  • Allison I. Hilger
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, 2240 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208

    Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, The University of Colorado Boulder, 2501 Kittredge Loop Dr, Boulder, CO 80305
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  • Samuel Levant
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, 2240 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208

    Emory University School of Medicine, 100 Woodruff Circle, Atlanta, GA 30322
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  • Jason H. Kim
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, 2240 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208
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  • Rosemary A. Lester-Smith
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, 2240 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208

    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, The University of Texas at Austin, 2504A Whitis Ave., Austin, TX 78712
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  • Charles Larson
    Address correspondence and reprint requests to Charles Larson, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60201.
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, 2240 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208
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Published:October 07, 2022DOI:


      Auditory feedback control of fundamental frequency (fo) is modulated in a task-dependent manner. When voice pitch auditory feedback perturbations are applied in sentence versus sustained-vowel production, larger and faster vocal fo responses are measured in sentence production. This task-dependency reflects the scaling of auditory targets for pitch for the precision required in each speech task. When the range for the pitch auditory target is scaled down for precision (as in the sentence-production task), a greater degree of mismatch is detected from the feedback perturbation and a larger vocal response is measured. The purpose of this study was to determine whether auditory feedback control of vocal intensity is also modulated in a task-dependent manner similar to the control of vocal pitch. Twenty-five English speakers produced repetitions of a sentence and a sustained vowel while hearing their voice auditory feedback briefly perturbed in loudness (+/- 3 or 6 dB SPL, 200 ms duration). The resulting vocal intensity responses were measured, and response magnitudes were robustly larger in the sentence (mean: 1.96 dB) than vowel production (mean: 0.89 dB). Additionally, response magnitudes increased as a function of perturbation magnitude only in sentence production for downward perturbations but decreased in magnitude by perturbation magnitude for upward perturbations. Peak response latencies were robustly shorter in sentence (mean: 184.94 ms) than in vowel production (mean: 214.92 ms). Overall, these results support the hypothesis that auditory feedback control of pitch and loudness are modulated by task and that both pitch and loudness auditory targets are scaled for the precision required for the speaking task.

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