Adaptive control of vowel formant frequency: evidence from real-time formant manipulation

J Acoust Soc Am. 2006 Aug;120(2):966-77. doi: 10.1121/1.2217714.


Auditory feedback during speech production is known to play a role in speech sound acquisition and is also important for the maintenance of accurate articulation. In two studies the first formant (F1) of monosyllabic consonant-vowel-consonant words (CVCs) was shifted electronically and fed back to the participant very quickly so that participants perceived the modified speech as their own productions. When feedback was shifted up (experiment 1 and 2) or down (experiment 1) participants compensated by producing F1 in the opposite frequency direction from baseline. The threshold size of manipulation that initiated a compensation in F1 was usually greater than 60 Hz. When normal feedback was returned, F1 did not return immediately to baseline but showed an exponential deadaptation pattern. Experiment 1 showed that this effect was not influenced by the direction of the F1 shift, with both raising and lowering of F1 exhibiting the same effects. Experiment 2 showed that manipulating the number of trials that F1 was held at the maximum shift in frequency (0, 15, 45 trials) did not influence the recovery from adaptation. There was a correlation between the lag-one autocorrelation of trial-to-trial changes in F1 in the baseline recordings and the magnitude of compensation. Some participants therefore appeared to more actively stabilize their productions from trial-to-trial. The results provide insight into the perceptual control of speech and the representations that govern sensorimotor coordination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Feedback / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Phonetics*
  • Pitch Discrimination / physiology*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Speech Acoustics*
  • Time Factors