Honors College
 

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date

Spring 5-2017

Abstract

A speech-generating device is often implemented to aid communication for those with limited ability to produce mouth speech. Although these devices have come a long way since their initial development, there are still pervasive problems regarding augmentative and alternative (AAC) technology. These problems include communication rate, intelligibility of the synthesized voice, and the effectiveness of the synthesized speech to transfer information for a variety of interactions. Additionally, the device is responsible for portraying unique information about the augmented speaker, including their competence, individuality and identity. This investigation sought to contribute to efforts aimed at understanding the impact of computer-generated voice output in routine social interactions. Using an iPad and an AAC mobile application, the primary investigator approached 6 novel communication partners and engaged in an interaction under 3 conditions. These conditions included female speech output, male speech output, and a speech-off function. Findings suggest limited differences between gendered speech output and suggest that the speech-off condition is more efficient for information seeking interactions. More research is needed on synthesized voices to address these issues and determine future directions for AAC technology.

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