Behavioral, computational, and neuroimaging studies of acquired apraxia of speech

Kirrie J. Ballard, Jason A. Tourville, Donald A. Robin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


A critical examination of speech motor control depends on an in-depth understanding of network connectivity associated with Brodmann areas 44 and 45 and surrounding cortices. Damage to these areas has been associated with two conditions—the speech motor programming disorder apraxia of speech (AOS) and the linguistic/grammatical disorder of Broca’s aphasia. Here we focus on AOS, which is most commonly associated with damage to posterior Broca’s area (BA) and adjacent cortex. We provide an overview of our own studies into the nature of AOS, including behavioral and neuroimaging methods, to explore components of the speech motor network that are associated with normal and disordered speech motor programming in AOS. Behavioral, neuroimaging, and computational modeling studies are indicating that AOS is associated with impairment in learning feedforward models and/or implementing feedback mechanisms and with the functional contribution of BA6. While functional connectivity methods are not yet routinely applied to the study of AOS, we highlight the need for focusing on the functional impact of localized lesions throughout the speech network, as well as larger scale comparative studies to distinguish the unique behavioral and neurological signature of AOS. By coupling these methods with neural network models, we have a powerful set of tools to improve our understanding of the neural mechanisms that underlie AOS, and speech production generally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number892
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Issue numberNovember
StatePublished - Nov 3 2014


  • Apraxia of speech
  • DIVA
  • Feedback control
  • Feedforward control
  • Inferior frontal gyrus (IFG)
  • Premotor cortex
  • Speech motor control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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