Matt Masapollo is the director and principal investigator of the Laboratory for the study of Cognition, Action and Perception of Speech. Matt is a member of the UF Hearing Research Center and recently co-founded the Florida Motor Control Working Group. The primary goal of his research program is to develop, test, and refine a theoretical framework, termed MIPA (Motor Involvement in Phonological Acquisition), that seeks to explicate the complex relations between speech perception, speech motor control, and phonological sensitivity. His research team then applies that framework to the study of neurodevelopmental disorders involving speech and design of mechanistically driven rehabilitation protocols.
Areas of Expertise (5)
Infant Speech Development
Speech Motor Control
Child Language Development
Media Appearances (1)
Using “baby talk” with infants isn’t just cute: It could help them learn to make words
UF News online
The way we instinctively speak to babies — higher pitch, slower speed, exaggerated pronunciation — not only appeals to them, but likely helps them learn to understand what we're saying. New research from the University of Florida suggests that baby talk can have another, previously unknown benefit: helping babies learn to produce their own speech. By mimicking the sound of a smaller vocal tract, the researchers think, we're cluing babies in to how the words should sound coming out of their own mouths.
Setting the Stage for Speech Production: Infants Prefer Listening to Speech Sounds With Infant Vocal ResonancesJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Linda Polka, Matthew Masapollo and Luci Menard
Current models of speech development argue for an early link between speech production and perception in infants. Recent data show that young infants (at 4–6 months) preferentially attend to speech sounds (vowels) with infant vocal properties compared to those with adult vocal properties, suggesting the presence of special “memory banks” for one's own nascent speech-like productions. This study investigated whether the vocal resonances (formants) of the infant vocal tract are sufficient to elicit this preference and whether this perceptual bias changes with age and emerging vocal production skills.
Neurophysiological Correlates of Asymmetries in Vowel Perception: An English-French Cross-Linguistic Event-Related Potential StudyFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Linda Polka, et al.
Behavioral studies examining vowel perception in infancy indicate that, for many vowel contrasts, the ease of discrimination changes depending on the order of stimulus presentation, regardless of the language from which the contrast is drawn and the ambient language that infants have experienced. By adulthood, linguistic experience has altered vowel perception; analogous asymmetries are observed for non−native contrasts but are mitigated for native contrasts. Although these directional effects are well documented behaviorally, the brain mechanisms underlying them are poorly understood.
Behavioral and Neural Correlates of Speech Motor Sequence Learning in Stuttering and Neurotypical Speakers: An fMRI InvestigationNeurobiology of Language
Matthew Masapollo, et al.
Stuttering is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impaired production of coordinated articulatory movements needed for fluent speech. It is currently unknown whether these abnormal production characteristics reflect disruptions to brain mechanisms underlying the acquisition and/or execution of speech motor sequences. To dissociate learning and control processes, we used a motor sequence learning paradigm to examine the behavioral and neural correlates of learning to produce novel phoneme sequences in adults who stutter (AWS) and neurotypical controls.