Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Integrated Article


Doctor of Philosophy


Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Oram Cardy, Janis

2nd Supervisor

Purcell, David

Joint Supervisor


Auditory feedback, how we hear ourselves speak, plays an important role in the acquisition and maintenance of fluent speech. Although there is wide acceptance of the importance of auditory feedback control throughout development, little is known about how this develops or how the reliance on auditory feedback control may shift compared to other elements of speech motor control. This dissertation aimed to improve our understanding of the development of auditory feedback control and speech motor control in typically developing children and pediatric clinical populations through the exploration of responses to altered auditory feedback. In altered auditory feedback paradigms, small, often imperceptible, manipulations of auditory feedback result in participants adapting their movements to compensate for the perturbation. Study 1 is a scoping review examining child responses to fundamental and formant frequency altered auditory feedback. Findings highlight a gap in the literature: several studies are underpowered and limited age ranges are considered. Study 2 is a registered report proposing how data will be collected in a study of first formant (F1) altered auditory feedback in typically developing children 2-13 years. This study builds on the gaps found in Study 1, as broad age ranges have not previously been explored in pediatric responses to formant manipulated auditory feedback. Study 3 contrasted responses to F1 altered auditory feedback in typically developing children and children with an unexplained and relatively specific deficit in language learning called developmental language disorder (DLD). Results from this study revealed aberrant responses in children with DLD compared to typically developing children. Together, this work provides novel information about the development of auditory feedback, and speech motor control in typical and clinical pediatric populations, highlighting where future research is needed.

Summary for Lay Audience

Speech is one of the most important and complex skills we develop. In order to be able to speak, we must learn and coordinate what we are trying to say with how to move our lips, mouths, tongues, and vocal cords to make specific sounds to communicate. How we hear ourselves speak (our auditory feedback) supports us in learning to speak, and helps us to continue to be able to speak clearly. Although we know our auditory feedback is important, we know very little about how this may change as we grow up.

The goal of this dissertation was to investigate how auditory feedback control develops across childhood. Study 1 reviewed previous studies that have explored how children respond when their auditory feedback is shifted. Study 2 outlines a proposal for a study that explores how 2-13-year-old children change how they speak when the auditory feedback of the vowels they are producing is shifted. In Study 3, children with an unexplained and relatively specific challenge using and understanding spoken language, called developmental language disorder, were compared to typically developing children when completing a similar task to Study 2 where auditory feedback of their vowels was shifted. Together, this work provides new information about the development of auditory feedback control in typical and clinical child populations.

Available for download on Friday, August 11, 2023