The USC Andrew and Erna Viterbi School of Engineering USC Signal and Image Processing Institute USC Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering University of Southern California

Technical Report USC-SIPI-415

“Structure and Function in Speech Production”

by Adam Lammert

February 2014

The mechanisms underlying speech production are some of the most crucial that humans posses, because the ability to produce and perceive speech forms much of the basis for human communication, expression and social interaction. This present work incorporates a three-part approach to understanding speech production control and behavior. The first component is empirical and involves the collection and processing of high-quality speech production data, of which real-time magnetic resonance imaging is the most useful and important. The second component is computational, and involves the development and application of methods for analyzing speech production behavior. The third component is a theoretical perspective that is grounded in the interplay of structure and function in the speech production apparatus. The structure of any motor apparatus is a central consideration for analyzing its control and behavior, but the speech production apparatus has many special considerations that make structure essential to understanding its function. Most speech articulation takes place in the confined environment (i.e., the vocal tract) that varies widely across speakers, and which ultimately determines many of the acoustic properties of the system, a crucial consideration in speech. These special considerations set up a complex interplay between structure and function that provides leverage toward understanding speech production control and behavior. The work described in the presentation will comprise several studies that take advantage of the strucure-function interplay for scientific understand, as well as technological and clinical applications, laying a foundation for future research along those lines.

Bio: Adam Lammert received an A.B. in Cognitive Science from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York and an M.S. in Computer Science from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina. Before coming to the University of Southern California to pursue a Ph.D., he was Lab Manager for Speech and Hearing Research at the Veterans Affairs Northern California Health Care System in Martinez, California. His research interests are in human-centered signal processing and computation, with a special emphasis on auditory perception and speech motor control.

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