Honors Program Thesis (UNI Access Only)

First Advisor

Todd Bohnenkamp


Speech--Physiological aspects; Motor ability;


The present study looks into the respiratory and aerodynamic behaviors of individuals when they attempt to inhibit a speech motor program. Ten participants classified as typical adult speakers were recruited to participate in the study. The participants were instructed to produce a target word (i.e. “ee,” “easy,” and “easier”) to stop the sweep hand on a timer at 800 milliseconds. The experimental condition required speakers to stop the sweep hand at 800ms; however, random catch trials were introduced where the sweep hand stopped at varying temporal distances before 800 ms. Participants were instructed to inhibit their response whenever the sweep hand stopped before 800 ms.

Participants were fitted with equipment to measure the movement of the chest wall and rib cage, vocal fold closure, and aerodynamic response (i.e. pressure and airflow). Participants in the present study performed similarly to previous studies in that inhibition decreased as the stop target neared 800 ms and as the length of the utterance increased. When looking at respiratory and aerodynamic response during inhibition, participants postured the chest wall in 36% of trials. Participants exhibited inspiratory checking 81% of the time during inhibited responses. The data demonstrating inspiratory checking indicates that ribcage musculature may be under constant active control throughout preparation for speech production and contradicts the argument that the abdomen is passively controlled. Chest wall posturing prior to speech production may not be a predictable process, and instead may vary between different speakers and with varying speech demands.

Date of Award



Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (23 pages)



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