Sense of effort and the effects of fatigue in the tongue and hand

Nancy Pearl Solomon, Donald A. Robin, Sara I. Mitchinson, Douglas J. VanDaele, Erich S. Luschei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Fatigue and increased effort are common symptoms for people with movement disorders and dysarthria, but they are rarely quantified. In an attempt to develop a clinically useful and physiologically meaningful measure of fatigue, we used a task that involves sustaining a target effort level without visual feedback while squeezing a bulb connected to a pressure transducer. In the first experiment, 12 healthy young adults performed the constant-effort task with the tongue and the preferred hand at 3 submaximal levels of effort. The resulting pressure declined over time as a negative exponential function with a nonzero asymptote. In the second experiment, 6 subjects performed the constant-effort task before and after acutely fatiguing the tongue and hand. The rate of pressure decline was significantly greater after fatigue. One possible mechanism for the characteristic negative exponential function is that it reflects a constant descending drive from higher centers in the CNS to the appropriate motoneuron pools. Thus, this technique may elucidate the contribution of central fatigue to normal and disordered speech.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-125
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1996


  • Effort
  • Fatigue
  • Hand
  • Speech
  • Tongue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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