Faculty Mentor

Dr. Jeffrey Berry, Speech Patholgy and Audiology


Brittany Bernal is a junior majoring in Speech Pathology and Audiology. She enjoys biking, canoeing, painting, and cooking. Brittany is a recipient of the Marquette Ignatius Scholarship and is a member of the National Residence Hall Honorary. After graduation in May 2015, she plans to pursue a Master’s Degree in Speech Pathology, hoping to specialize in the medical setting.



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The purpose of this research is to measure the compensatory and adaptive articulatory response to shifted formants in auditory feedback to compare the resulting amount of sensorimotor learning that takes place in speakers upon saying the words /pep/ and /tet/. These words were chosen in order to analyze the coarticulatory effects of voiceless consonants /p/ and /t/ on sensorimotor adaptation of the vowel /e/. The formant perturbations were done using the Audapt software, which takes an input speech sample and plays it back to the speaker in real-time via headphones. Formants are high-energy acoustic resonance patterns measured in hertz that reflect positions of articulators during the production of speech sounds. The two lowest frequency formants (F1 and F2) can uniquely distinguish among the vowels of American English. For this experiment, Audapt shifted F1 down and F2 up, and those who adapt were expected to shift in the opposite direction of the perturbation. The formant patterns and vowel boundaries were analyzed using TF32 and S+ software, which led to conclusions about the adaptive responses. Manipulating auditory feedback by shifting formant values is hypothesized to elicit sensorimotor adaptation, a form of short-term motor learning. The amount of adaptation is expected to be greater for the word /pep/ rather than /tet/ because there is less competition for articulatory placement of the tongue during production of bilabial consonants. This methodology could be further developed to help those with motor speech disorders remedy their speech errors with much less conscious effort than traditional therapy techniques.

Publication Date

Summer 2013


Speech Pathology and Audiology

Brittany Bernal - Sensorimotor Adaptation of Vowel Production in Stop Consonant Contexts