Studies examining sensorimotor adaptation of speech to changing sensory conditions have demonstrated a central role for both auditory and somatosensory feedback in speech motor learning. The potential influence of visual feedback of oral articulators, which is not typically available during speech production but may nonetheless enhance oral motor control, remains poorly understood. The present study explores the influence of ultrasound visual feedback of the tongue on adaptation of speech production (focusing on the sound /s/) to a physical perturbation of the oral articulators (prosthesis altering the shape of the hard palate). Two visual feedback groups were tested that differed in the two-dimensional plane being imaged (coronal or sagittal) during practice producing /s/ words, along with a no-visual-feedback control group. Participants in the coronal condition were found to adapt their speech production across a broader range of acoustic spectral moments and syllable contexts than the no-feedback controls. In contrast, the sagittal group showed reduced adaptation compared to no-feedback controls. The results indicate that real-time visual feedback of the tongue is spontaneously integrated during speech motor adaptation, with effects that can enhance or interfere with oral motor learning depending on compatibility of the visual articulatory information with requirements of the speaking task.

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