Faculty Mentor

Jeffrey Berry


Brittany Bernal is a senior majoring in speech pathology and Spanish for the health professions. Brittany is on the Dean’s List and winner of Forward Thinking Poster Session and Colloquy. She enjoys camping, biking, running, hiking and cooking. After graduation in May 2015, she plans to pursue a Masters degree at Marquette University.



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The broad objective of this line of research is to understand how auditory feedback manipulations may be used to elicit involuntary changes in speech articulation. We examine speech sensorimotor adaptation to supplement the development of speech rehabilitation applications that benefit from this learning phenomenon. By manipulating the acoustics of one’s auditory feedback, it is possible to elicit involuntary changes in speech articulation. We seek to understand how virtually manipulating participants’ perception of vowel space affects their speech movements by assessing acoustic variables such as formant frequency changes. Participants speak through a digital audio processing device that virtually alters the perceived size of their vocal tract. It is hypothesized that this modification to auditory feedback will facilitate adaptive changes in motor behavior as indicated by acoustic changes resulting from speech articulation. This study will determine how modifying the perception of vocal tract size affects articulatory behavior, indicated by changes in formant frequencies and changes in vowel space area. This work will also determine if and how the size of the virtual vowel space affects the magnitude and direction of sensorimotor adaptation for speech. The ultimate aim is to determine how important it is for the virtual vowel space to mimic the talker’s real vowel space, and whether or not perturbing the size of the perceived vowel space may facilitate or impede involuntary adaptive learning for speech.

Sensorimotor Adaptation of Speech Through a Virtually Shortened Vocal Tract by Brittany Bernal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Publication Date

Fall 2014


Speech Pathology and Audiology

Brittany Bernal - Sensorimotor Adaptation of Speech Through a Virtually Shortened Vocal Tract