The Effects of Speech Task on Lexical Stress in Parkinson’s Disease

Andrew H. Exner, Alexander L. Francis, Megan K. Macpherson, Meghan Darling-White, Jessica E. Huber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: Hypokinetic dysarthria associated with Parkinson’s disease (PD) is characterized by dysprosody, yet the literature is mixed with respect to how dysprosody affects the ability to mark lexical stress, possibly due to differences in speech tasks used to assess lexical stress. The purpose of this study was to compare how people with and without PD modulate acoustic dimensions of lexical stress—fundamental frequency, intensity, and duration—to mark lexical stress across three different speech tasks. Method: Twelve individuals with mild-to-moderate idiopathic PD and 12 age-and sex-matched older adult controls completed three speech tasks: picture description, word production in isolation, and word production in lists. Outcome measures were the fundamental frequency, intensity, and duration of the vocalic segments of two trochees (initial stress) and two iambs (final stress) spoken in all three tasks. Results: There were very few group differences. Both groups marked trochees by modulating intensity and fundamental frequency and iambs by modulating duration. Task had a significant impact on the stress patterns used by both groups. Stress patterns were most differentiated in words produced in isolation and least differentiated in lists of words. Conclusions: People with PD did not demonstrate impairments in the production of lexical stress, suggesting that dysprosody associated with PD does not impact all types of prosody in the same way. However, there were reduced dis-tinctions in stress marking that were more apparent in trochees than iambs. In addition, the task used to assess prosody has a significant effect on all acoustic measures. Future research should focus on the use of connected speech tasks to obtain more generalizable measures of prosody in PD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)506-522
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican journal of speech-language pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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