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What unsolved research questions are currently under investigation in your laboratory?

The Orofacial Physiology and Perceptual Analysis Laboratory (OPPAL) focuses on ways humans process and use auditory and somatosensory information from the lips and tongue for the purposes of speech production and feeding. We want to better understand how sensorimotor control for speech behaviors changes as a feature of age, sex, smoking history or musical training. We are especially interested in changes that may occur after neurologic injury (stroke, brain injury, etc) where a speech disorder is present.

What novel equipment and/or experimental models are currently in use in your research program?

We use a combination of custom-designed hardware and commercially available clinical tools to allow for the use of a combined methodology of perceptual psychophysics (stimulus detection and discrimination tasks) and motor control and learning strategies. The combined methodology will permit the assessment and perceptual (cognitive) appreciation of tactile inputs delivered to orofacial surfaces (lips, tongue, cheek, chin) during simultaneous performance of visually guided behaviors in the lower face.