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Sensorimotor processing in speech examined in automatic imitation tasks

Wu, Yuchunzi; (2021) Sensorimotor processing in speech examined in automatic imitation tasks. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

The origin of humans’ imitative capacity to quickly map observed actions onto their motor repertoire has been the source of much debate in cognitive psychology. Past research has provided a comprehensive account of how sensorimotor associative experience forges and modulates the imitative capacity underlying familiar, visually transparent manual gestures. Yet, little is known about whether the same associative mechanism is also involved in imitation of visually opaque orofacial movements or novel actions that were not part of the observers’ motor repertoire. This thesis aims to establish the role of sensorimotor experience in modulating the imitative capacity underlying communicative orofacial movements, namely speech actions, that are either familiar or novel to perceivers. Chapter 3 first establishes that automatic imitation of speech occurs due to perception- induced motor activation and thus can be used as a behavioural measure to index the imitative capacity underlying speech. Chapter 4 demonstrates that the flexibility observed for the imitative capacity underlying manual gestures extends to the imitative capacity underlying visually perceived speech actions, suggesting that the associative mechanism is also involved in imitation of visually opaque orofacial movements. Chapter 5 further shows that sensorimotor experience with novel speech actions modulates the imitative capacity underlying both novel and familiar speech actions produced using the same articulators. Thus, findings from Chapter 5 suggest that the associative mechanism is also involved in imitation of novel actions and that experience-induced modification probably occurs at the feature level in the perception-production link presumably underlying the imitative capacity. Results are discussed with respect to previous imitation research and more general action-perception research in cognitive and experimental psychology, sensorimotor interaction studies in speech science, and native versus non-native processing in second language research. Overall, it is concluded that the development of speech imitation follows the same basic associative learning rules as the development of imitation in other effector systems.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Sensorimotor processing in speech examined in automatic imitation tasks
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2021. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10118939
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