External Seminar: Coping with challenging speech communication across the lifespan

Tuesday 22 May 2018, 4.00PM to 5.00pm

Speaker(s): Professor Valerie Hazan, Speech Hearing and Phonetic Sciences, UCL


Speech communication often occurs in challenging conditions, and studies of young adults have shown that they naturally adopt a ‘clear speaking style’ to promote effective communication in these situations.  We know less about how this ability to adapt to different communicative environments  develops in children and changes in old age. We have addressed this question in studies with different age groups carried out with Outi Tuomainen. We consider that it is essential to investigate these dynamic speech adaptations in speech produced with true communicative intent rather than read speech. To this end, we record participants while they carry out a problem-solving task (diapix) with a conversational partner; in order to naturally elicit clear speech adaptations, we control the ease or difficulty with which they can hear each other during the task. Our analyses of the speech of children, young and older adults include acoustic profiles, task transaction measures and perceptual evaluations of their speech. In this talk, I will review the findings of our studies and consider whether we can identify clear speech strategies that are particularly effective in improving speech communication for different talker populations. 

Location: PS/B020