Research projects conducted in the University of Washington's Laboratory for Speech Physiology and Motor Control (Max Lab), or through collaborations between this and other laboratories, focus on the neural and sensorimotor processes underlying the control of orofacial and laryngeal movements involved in speech production as well as on human voluntary movements in general.
The two major research programs that form the main focus of the laboratory are designed to examine (a) the sensorimotor control and organization of the multiple articulatory and phonatory actions contributing to normal speech production, and (b) the neuromotor and neurophysiological mechanisms underlying stuttering.
The work on stuttering also provides additional opportunities to study the neural processes involved in motor control, for example through studies of the effects of dopamine-related pharmacological agents on speech fluency and on both speech and nonspeech motor control.
Experimental questions are addressed through the combined use of a variety of available analysis procedures and techniques such as, for example, kinematic and electromyographic analyses of orofacial and limb movements, mechanical perturbations of such movements, electroencephalographic recordings of cortical brain activity, and acoustic analyses of the speech output. Examples of currently ongoing projects include analyses of speech and nonspeech sensorimotor adaptation in normal motor control (e.g., using real-time perturbations of auditory and/or proprioceptive feedback during speech production) and speech and nonspeech movement analyses in stuttering versus nonstuttering adults.
If you live in Seattle or surrounding area and you would be interested in participating in a research project on stuttering, please click here for more information or contact Dr. Ludo Max by e-mail ().