7th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing

September 16-20, 2002
Denver, Colorado, USA

Preliminary Data on Effects of Behavioral and Levodopa Therapies on Speech-Accompanying Gesture in Parkinsonís Disease

Susan Duncan

University of Chicago, USA

Speakers spontaneously produce meaningful manual, bodily, and facial movements when engaged in interactive communication . This is universally true. Gestures serve as aids to communication and also as embodied representations of meanings, with a role in structuring connected discourse, linked with working memory. Given their communicative and cognitive significance in normal language use, it is important to study the alterations these behaviors undergo in language pathological conditions such as aphasia, right hemisphere communication disorders, and Parkinsonís disease (PD); also, to assess the effects of therapies for these disorders on gesture. Here we sketch the connections between (i) the role of gesture in language, (ii) research on the disabling effects of Parkinsonís disease on spoken communication, emphasizing voice, dysprosody, and flattened affect, (iii) the link between speech prosody and speech-accompanying gesture, and (iv) the spread of effects of Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT) therapy beyond amelioration of voice deficits, possibly extending to speech-accompanying gestures. Preliminary analyses of narrative discourse data from four PD patients are summarized. Two of these patients were videotaped for comparison on and off Levodopa medications; two were videotaped pre- and post-LSVT.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Duncan, Susan (2002): "Preliminary data on effects of behavioral and levodopa therapies on speech-accompanying gesture in parkinson≤s disease", In ICSLP-2002, 2481-2484.