School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Language in Motion

OUR RESEARCH

Current Research Projects


Language-Motor Relations in Children’s Speech Production: Lisa Goffman, Principal Investigator

In this 5-year project, funded by the National Institutes of Health, Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, we are longitudinally studying children with specific language impairment and their typical peers. We ask how language and motor capacities co-develop from age 4-5 years, when SLI is often identified, through age 6 or 7, when overt grammatical errors often disappear and children begin to read.

We aim to provide an empirical foundation for understanding developmental language disorders, one that incorporates findings of shared language and motor substrates. To this end, we use a combination of approaches from psychology, linguistics and motor control. Mouth and hand movements are recorded while children produce words or sentences or engage in the manual motor activity, such as the production of gestures and musical sequences.

These physiological measures are integrated with behavioral analyses. The goal is to develop a theoretical account of developmental language disorders that integrates motor and cognitive components and applies findings to intervention practices.

Child participating in a rhythmic drumming task. The Liberty Pohemus is used to capture hand motion.
Child participating in a rhythmic drumming task. The Liberty Pohemus is used to capture hand motion.

Child participating in a speech task. The 3D Investigator (Northern Digital) is used to capture lip and jaw motion.
Child participating in a speech task. The 3D Investigator (Northern Digital) is used to capture lip and jaw motion.

Child playing with toys while we collect a spontaneous language sample.
Child playing with toys while we collect a spontaneous language sample.


Language and Motor Learning in Children with Speech Sound Disorders and Childhood Apraxia of Speech: Janet Vuolo

One of the studies currently underway in our lab is investigating the relationship between articulatory movement stability and phonetic accuracy in children with speech sound disorders, specific language impairment, and childhood apraxia of speech (CAS). This project is funded by an F31 through the National Institutes of Health.

Child participating in gesture learning task.
Child participating in gesture learning task.

Child participating in bimanual timing task..
Child participating in bimanual timing task.