Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)

Degree Granting Department

Communication Sciences and Disorders

Major Professor

Michelle Bourgeois, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Committee Member

R. Michael Barker, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Committee Member

Kyna Betancourt, Ph.D., CCC-SLP


ModelTalker, message banking, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), augmentative alternative communication (AAC)


The purpose of this study was to determine what perceptual differences existed between a natural recorded human voice and a synthetic voice that was created to sound like the same voice. This process was meant to mimic the differences between a voice that would be used for Message Banking and a voice that would be created by the ModelTalker system. Forty speech pathology graduate students (mean age = 23 years) rated voices on clarity, naturalness, pleasantness, and overall similarity. Analysis of data showed that the natural human voice was consistently rated as more natural, clear, and pleasant. In addition, participants generally rated the two voices as very different. This demonstrates that, at least in terms of perception, using the method of Message Banking results in a voice that is overall perceived more positively than the voice created using ModelTalker.