Multilevel Control Model for Speech Motor Activity

  • Vincent L. Gracco


It has been suggested that a current limitation in our understanding of the mechanisms of motor control is the limited knowledge regarding the structure of the central nervous system as a multivariable controller (Ito, 1982). In attempting to understand the control of speech movements and the aberrations associated with speech movement disorders, the problem is compounded because the multiple movements of this motor act are subordinate to an overall communication goal. This is illustrated by the presence of motor equivalence in which speech motor actions are implemented in a complex, but systematically variable manner (cf. Abbs, 1986; Gracco & Abbs, in press, b; Hughes & Abbs, 1976; MacNeilage, 1970). In response to the apparent variability in the movements and muscle activities associated with speech production, experimental effort has been directed toward the identification of invariant relations in the speech production process. The search for invariance is based on the assumption that stereotypic or invariant motor actions reduce the control complexity of a motor task. While the search for movement invariance has provided some general insight into motor control considerations, many issues remain unresolved (cf. Perkell, 1986; Stein, 1982 for reviews).


Sensory Information Motor Program Experimental Brain Research Motor Execution Speech Motor 
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  • Vincent L. Gracco

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