Projects & publications
Controlling pitch for prosody: Sensorimotor adaptation in linguistically meaningful contexts
The pitch of someone's voice varies as they speak, allowing them to express emotion, speak naturally, and express meanings through intonation. A speaker must have sufficient control the pitch of their voice to effective convey their intended meaning. We've learned a lot about how people control pitch by observing how they correct pitch errors during a sustained vowel like, "aaaaaaah." But a sustained vowel lacks meaning and so doesn't quite capture how speakers use pitch to communicate. When a pitch error changes the meaning of a sentence, do speakers respond more strongly? In this study, speakers corrected pitch errors, regardless of how much the error disrupted the meaning the speaker intended to express.
Dahl, K. L., Díaz Cádiz, M., Zuk, J., Guenther, F. H., & Stepp, C. E. (in press). Controlling pitch for prosody: Sensorimotor adaptation in linguistically meaninigful contexts. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research.
Dahl, K. L., Díaz Cádiz, M., Zuk, J., Guenther, F. H., & Stepp, C. E. (1 April 2023). Controlling pitch for prosody: Sensorimotor adaptation in linguistically meaninigful contexts. The 15th International Conference on Advances in Quantitative Laryngology, Voice, and Speech Research. Phoenix, AZ.
Effects of cognitive stress on voice acoustics in individuals with hyperfunctional voice disorders
Hyperfunctional voice disorders (HVDs) are the most common type of voice impairment, yet we don't quite understand why some people develop it. Could it be associated with autonomic dysfunction, which is more prevalent among those with HVDs? We used cognitive stress to induce autonomic arousal in adult speakers with and without HVDs. We expected those with HVDs would experience greater changes in voice acoustics than those without, due to underlying autonomic dysfunction. But they did not!
Dahl, K. L. & Stepp, C. E. (2023). Effects of cognitive load on voice acoustics in individuals with hyperfunctional voice disorders. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 32(1), 264-274, doi.org/10.1044/2022_AJSLP-22-00204.
Dahl, K. L. & Stepp, C. E. (1 June 2022). Effects of cognitive load on voice acoustics in individuals with hyperfunctional voice disorders. Voice Foundation Symposium, Philadelphia, PA.
Changes in relative fundamental frequency under increased cognitive load in individuals with typical voices
Cognitive stress arouses the autonomic nervous system (ANS). When speaking under ANS arousal, our voice quality changes and laryngeal muscle activity increases. Are the changes in the sound of our voice related to this increased muscle activity? Yep! Speakers without voice disorders may tense up their laryngeal muscles in a specific pattern when speaking under cognitive stress. It remains to be seen if this is also true of speakers with voice disorders. Stay tuned!
Dahl, K. L., & Stepp, C. E. (2021). Changes in relative fundamental frequency under increased cognitive load in individuals with healthy voices. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 64(4), 1189–1196. https://doi.org/10.1044/2021_JSLHR-20-00134
Coauthored publications in speech motor control
Dragicevic, D.A., Dahl, K.L., Perkins, Z., Abur, D., & Stepp, C.E. (in press). Effects of a concurrent working memory task on speech acoustics in Parkinson’s disease. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology.
Miller, H.E., Kearney, E., Nieto-Castañón, A., Falsino, R., Abur, D., Acosta, A., Chao, S-C., Dahl, K.L., Franken, M., Heller Murray, E.S., Mollaei, F., Niziolek, C.A., Parrell, B., Perrachione, T., Smith, D.J., Stepp, C.E., Tomassi, N., & Guenther, F.H. (in press). Don’t cut off your tail: A mega-analysis of responses to auditory perturbation experiments, Journal of Speech-Language, and Hearing Research.