The mission of the Vocal Tract Development Laboratory is to quantify the three-dimensional anatomic development of the supra-laryngeal speech apparatus – including its oral and pharyngeal structures and cavities – throughout the lifespan in individuals with typical and atypical development, for the purpose of establishing anatomic-acoustic correlates.
How we approach our mission
In our quest to document the three-dimensional growth of the vocal tract in males and females, we use medical imaging methods together with acoustic measures of speech production, acoustic pharyngometry, and vocal tract modeling to pave the path for the ultimate goal of establishing anatomic-acoustic correlates.
Our early work concentrated on typical development but we are now expanding our research to include studies of atypical development in conditions such as Down syndrome and cerebral palsy. A major product of our efforts to date is a large set of vocal tract imaging studies from newborns to older adults. We also have aquired a large set of developmental acoustic recordings. These extensive databases allow us to determine how the vocal tract changes during postnatal development and how these anatomic changes relate to the acoustic properties of speech in males and females at various ages.