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Appalachian Student Research Forum

Office of Research and Sponsored Programs

Division II

Abstracts Submitted:Division II - Graduate students (1-2 years) - Social & Behavioral Sciences


Tammy Tignor, B.S., Jennifer Tracey, B.S., Amy Wilkinson, B.S., & Nancy J. Scherer, Ph.D., Department of Communicative Disorders, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN

Percent of Consonants Correct Revised (PCC-R) is a well-known measure used to assess speech sound accuracy in children with communication disorders. The conventional method of collection requires time consuming transcription of connected speech samples but provides important information pertaining to the severity of the speech disorder. Many speech pathologists do not routinely calculate PCC-R because of the transcription skill and time required. However, speech accuracy measures are an important component of a comprehensive speech evaluation. Typically, a major component of the speech evaluation is a single word articulation test, such as the Goldman Fristoe Test of Articulation (GFTA-2) which measures sound substitutions, omissions, distortions or additions but does not provide a measure of severity. This study compared PCC-R calculated from the conventional method of collection in connected speech to PCC-R calculated from a common single word articulation test, the GFTA-2. Subjects: Twelve participants with cleft lip and palate and 12 noncleft children who ranged in age from 3 to 5 years were included in this study. There were 10 males and 14 females; 5 with cleft lip and palate, 7 with isolated cleft palate and 12 non-cleft children who were matched for gender and socioeconomic status. Procedures: A 100 utterance language sample and single word responses to the GFTA-2 were collected and transcribed using broad phonetic transcription and compensatory articulation symbols. Interrater reliability measures were obtained for the phonetic transcriptions. Interjudge reliability was between 85-90% for PCC-R on both the single word and connected speech samples.. Intrajudge reliability was greater than 95% for PCC-R on both the single word and connected speech samples. PCC-R from connected speech samples and single word measures were compared using t-tests. Effect size for significant findings was further examined using point-biserial correlations. Results: No significant differences were observed between P .....

The Efficacy of Voice Therapy in Male-to-Female Transsexuals

Shonna May, Tasha-Marie Olinger, John Fleming, Christopher McCrea, Ph.D, Department of Communicative Disorders, East Tennessee State University, College of Public and Allied Health, Johnson City, TN 37614

Male-to-female transsexuals may have difficulty manipulating their voices in order to be perceived as female. Male-to-female transsexuals may seek the assistance of a speech-language pathologist to teach them vocal manipulations to help them be vocally perceived as female. One vocal manipulation that has been suggested is increasing fundamental frequency (f0); however, it has not been clearly demonstrated that increased f0 is the most salient feature needed for male-to-female transsexuals to be vocally perceived as female. The purpose of this investigation was to determine if there is an association between increasing f0 and listener perception of female for a male-to-female transsexual. This study involved a single, surgically reassigned male-to-female transsexual. The participant received 11 weeks of voice therapy, focused on increasing f0 from a baseline of approximately 100 Hz to 160 Hz during sustained vowels and connected speech. Weekly recordings of the participant sustaining /a/ and reading a standard passage were collected and acoustically analyzed to determine f0. In addition, the participants recordings and normal male and female voice samples were randomly presented to nave listeners. The listeners were asked to rate the samples as male or female and also rate the degree of femininity on a zero-ten scale. The acoustic data revealed that the participant was able to steadily increase f0 over the course of therapy and meet the treatment goals during sustained vowel production and connected speech. A Pearson-correlation coefficient was calculated to determine if there were any correlations between the perceptual ratings and increased f0. A significant correlation between the perceptual ratings of the sustained /a/ and f0 were indicated; however a significant correlation between f0 and the connected speech samples was not observed. The results indicated that a voice therapy program focused specifically on increasing f0 may help male-to-female transsexuals be vocally perceived as female, but that there...


Marla K. Perna1, Christine Newell 2, Barney E. Miller 2, Russell W. Brown 1,1Department of Psychology; 2Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN 37614.

Past data have shown abnormal levels of acetylcholine in the hippocampal brain area of schizophrenics. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter in the brain known to be important in cognition. In our laboratory, we have developed a rodent model of schizophrenia through neonatal administration of the dopamine D2/D3 agonist quinpirole. This neonatal drug treatment produces an increase of D2 receptor sensitivity that persists throughout the animal's lifetime, which is similar to the increase of D2 receptor sensitivity known to exist in schizophrenics. We have shown in a past study that choline acetyltransferase (ChAT), the enzyme that catalyzes the reaction to form acetylcholine in the brain, is significantly decreased in the hippocampus of rats neonatally treated with quinpirole versus controls. However, this past study was performed utilizing a radioimmunoassay, and the present study was designed to develop an enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for ChAT, as an ELISA is a more accurate measurement of the enzyme. The hippocampus and frontal cortex brain areas were dissected away from animals that were neonatally treated with the dopamine D2 agonist, quinpirole (1mg/kg) or saline from postnatal days 1-21 (P1-21). Brains were homogenized using a RIPA cell lysis buffer with the addition of protease inhibitors. A pure ChAT protein was used to develop a standard curve for comparison of amounts of protein in brain tissue. Based on a standard protocol for detection of ChAT in human tissue, this assay was developed using a polyclonal capture antibody and a detection antibody raised against human placental ChAT. Dilutions and incubations of primary and secondary antibodies and standard proteins were developed for this particular assay using NUNC 96 well Maxisorp ELISA plates. Use of this assay determined levels of choline acetyltransferase in rat brain tissue areas of the hippocampus and frontal cortex. Development of this assay may aid in analysis of changes of the levels of ChAT in brain due to neonatal quinpirole tr....


Amanda M. Maple, Marla K. Perna, Russell W. Brown. Dept. of Psychology, East Tennessee State University Johnson City, TN 37614

Prepulse inhibition (PPI) of the startle reflex is an operational measure of sensorimotor gating that is reduced in schizophrenia patients and in dopamine (DA)-activated rats. PPI is measured by comparing the startle response to a loud auditory stimulus (120 decibels, dB) with trials in which a lower-level prepulse is given immediately before the startling stimulus. PPI has been hypothesized to be linked to attention and cognition, as deficits in PPI tend to demonstrate a significant deficit in attentional processing. Human schizophrenics demonstrate an over-activated dopamine system in the brain, and have demonstrated a significant deficit in PPI. Additionally, approximately 80% of schizophrenics smoke cigarettes, but there is no definitive explanation as to why this occurs. We have developed a rodent model of schizophrenia in which increases in dopamine D2 receptor sensitivity are produced through neonatal quinpirole (a dopamine D2 agonist) treatment, administered from postnatal days 1-21. This drug treatment produces long-term increases of dopamine D2 receptor sensitivity, similar to that which occurs in human schizophrenics. In this study a total of 22 male and female Sprague-dawley rats were administered either quinpirole, a dopamine D2 receptor agonist (1mg/kg), or saline from postnatal days 1-21. Rats were raised to adulthood (approximately postnatal day 60) and tested daily for 10 consecutive days in one of two prepulse inhibition chambers (SR-Lab system, San Diego Instruments). Mean startle amplitude was measured over 100 ms following the presentation of the pulse stimulus of 120dB. Fifteen minutes before being placed into the chamber, rats were administered either nicotine (0.5 mg/kg free base) or saline. On each daily trial, the rat was placed into an enclosed Plexiglas tube within a sound attenuating chamber. An ambient noise of 70 dB was administered for 5 min followed by a test session consisting of the randomized presentation of 35 trials: 20 pulse trials (40 ms, 120-db pulse) and 15 prepulse t......


Abby Tangeman, Beverly Asher and Mary Counts, Department of Communicative Disorders, East Tennessee State University, College of Public and Allied Health, Johnson City, TN 37614

The sonority sequencing principle (SSP) is a linguistic construct that has been examined to predict learning patterns of consonant clusters in phonological intervention. Specifically, SSP predicts that treatment of marked clusters will result in across-class generalization, whereas, unmarked and adjunct clusters will result in more limited within-in class generalization. This study extended previous investigations of generalization patterns by examining treatment outcomes of 11 children with phonological impairments who were divided into three cluster training groups: (1) unmarked clusters, (2) marked clusters, and (3) adjunct clusters. The SSP was analyzed to examine within-class and across-class generalization patterns that occurred over the course of intervention. The results revealed that a greater number of children trained on marked clusters evidenced across-class generalization than children trained on either unmarked or adjunct cluster categories. Although the results generally followed the principles of sonority, the SSP did not account for all the results. The efficiency of sonority as it applies to consonant cluster treatment is yet to be determined.


Kelli Chaulk, Tricia Eggers, Nina King, Jamie Rouse, and A. Lynn Williams, PhD., Department of Communicative Disorders, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN 37614

With the recent No Child Left Behind legislative act (PL 107-110), educators are increasingly interested in addressing early emergent literacy skills as a means to prevent later academic difficulties. One approach that has shown early promise in facilitating emergent literacy skills is the dialogic reading approach developed by Whitehurst and Lonigan (1998). The purpose of this investigation was to examine the long-term effects of this approach 18 months after parents completed the dialogic reading training when their children were age four and in preschool. Specifically, this study examined whether trained parents continued to use the interactive strategies they learned and if differences between trained and untrained parental reading styles had a secondary effect on their children's early literacy skills. To answer these questions, this project compared two groups of parent-child dyads with regard to their interactive behaviors during shared storybook reading. Each group included 4 parent-child dyads... One group of parent-child dyads had participated in the dialogic reading program 18 months previously and the other group of parent-child dyads had not received the training program. The children (4 girls and 4 boys) were currently all first graders from Title 1 elementary schools. Each parent was videotaped reading a standard book to their child. In addition, each child's early literacy skills were examined using the Phonological Awareness and Literacy Screening (PALS) test and the Peabody-Picture Vocabulary Test-III (PPVT-III). The results indicated that the trained parent group maintained the trained skills of dialogic reading through the use of initiations and responses with their child that was not observed in the untrained parent group. However, these differences did not yield observable differences in early literacy skills between the two groups of children, as measured by the PALS and PPVT-III.


Frances L. Chumney, Chris S. Dula. Department of Psychology, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN 37614

This study investigated perception of the quality of parenting provided by breastfeeding mothers. Undergraduate students (60 men and 87 women) enrolled in at least one social science course participated, either in-class or via the Internet, in exchange for modest course credit. Each participant was asked to complete a set of questionnaires that included measures of perceptions of and attitudes towards women who breastfeed, knowledge of and embarrassment related to breastfeeding, and demographic information. Perceived quality of motherhood provided by breastfeeding mothers was measured using the questionnaire developed by Friedman, et al (1998). Factor analysis of data collected for the present study was performed for each of the three factors comprising the quality of motherhood measure. The factor labeled concerned and investing mother consisted of 11 items and explained 46% of the variance (Eigen value 6.256). The egalitarian mother factor consisted of 5 items and explained 36% of the variance (Eigen value 2.797). The third factor, rejecting mother, consisted of 3 items and explained 17% of the variance (Eigen value 2.358). A significant positive correlation was found between concerned and investing mother and egalitarian mother (p= .000). Negative correlations were found between the subscales of concerned and investing mother and rejecting mother (p = .001), and egalitarian mother and rejecting mother (p = .365). These results were similar to those of previous studies utilizing this measure, and supported the hypothesis that a womans choice to breastfeed or bottle-feed her child does not significantly alter the perception of her as a concerned and invested, egalitarian, or rejecting mother.

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