Rhythm as a coordinating device: Entrainment with disordered speech

Stephanie A. Borrie, Julie Liss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Purpose: The rhythmic entrainment (coordination) of behavior during human interaction is a powerful phenomenon, considered essential for successful communication, supporting social and emotional connection, and facilitating sense-making and information exchange. Disruption in entrainment likely occurs in conversations involving those with speech and language impairment, but its contribution to communication disorders has not been defined. As a first step to exploring this phenomenon in clinical populations, the present investigation examined the influence of disordered speech on the speech production properties of healthy interactants. Method: Twenty-nine neurologically healthy interactants participated in a quasi-conversational paradigm, in which they read sentences (response) in response to hearing prerecorded sentences (exposure) from speakers with dysarthria (n = 4) and healthy controls (n = 4). Recordings of read sentences prior to the task were also collected (habitual). Results: Findings revealed that interactants modified their speaking rate and pitch variation to align more closely with the disordered speech. Production shifts in these rhythmic properties, however, remained significantly different from corresponding properties in dysarthric speech. Conclusion: Entrainment offers a new avenue for exploring speech and language impairment, addressing a communication process not currently explained by existing frameworks. This article offers direction for advancing this line of inquiry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)815-824
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014


  • Communication
  • Entrainment
  • Interaction
  • Rhythm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


Dive into the research topics of 'Rhythm as a coordinating device: Entrainment with disordered speech'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this