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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Speech postures are postures : towards a unified approach to postural control in gross and fine motor skills Shamei, Arian


In this dissertation, I examine the concept of posture in the vocal tract and compare it to the concept of posture as discussed in gross motor contexts. We begin in chapter 1 by reviewing theoretical conceptions of body posture, and identifying the necessary conditions for a comparison of vocal tract and bodily posture. In subsequent chapters, I lay out experimental work I have conducted alongside coauthors to examine the relationship between speech and non-speech postural control. In chapter 2, we examine the effects of microgravity adaptation on speech postural control and observe postural shifts comparable to gross motor skills. In Chapter 3 we examine the relationship between speech postures and upcoming motor tasks, and find that speech postures account for upcoming motor demands in a similar manner to body postures, reflecting specific properties of upcoming speech movements rather than generalized linguistic properties. In Chapter 4, we examine the neural control of vocal tract posture and movement and find that they are similar to what has been reported in gross motor contexts. In Chapter 5, we review the implications of our findings for a unified model of postural control across gross and fine motor skills, and outline necessary next steps to evaluate this model.

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