As the summer has progressed, so has my project. Again, the big questions I am looking to shed light on through this experiment are: What effect does auditory perception have on a person’s speech and their ability to perform a speech-motor task? How might visual biofeedback technology come into play? Could altering someone’s auditory perception make them more likely to successfully use biofeedback technology to alter their speech? And what implications does this have in the field of speech therapy?
So far I have completed 10 participants and am finally getting the hang of things. After some minor adjustments after the first couple of participants, I have finalized the protocol and am optimistic about yielding good results. I luckily have had no trouble finding participants, and there are still many more recruitment efforts to be made. At first my goal of 40 participants seemed a little overwhelming, however I now feel confident that I can get there with no problems.
Pictured above, is one of my first participants in the sound booth completing the perceptual training portion of the experiment. This task proved to be the hardest to get up and running due to the complexity of the computer program used. However, the results thus far and shown that we are in fact, able to successfully shift participants’ perceptual boundaries between the words “head” and “had” which is the ultimate purpose of the program.
After the perceptual training comes the speech-motor task (pictured below). Most participants have been able to alter their speech in order to match a visual biofeedback target, which is a good sign.
The next step will be looking at data from the speech-motor tasks to see just how well participants are doing, and whether the perceptual training they received will show a significant effect on this. To do this, I will have to brush up on some basic methods of statistical analysis which will certainly keep me busy for the remainder of the summer.