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Title:A Rather Good T-Shirt
Author(s):Bronson-Lowe, Christina
Contributor(s):Bronson-Lowe, Daniel
Subject(s):Speech and Hearing Science
Abstract:What is complexity? A complex shape or complex data might be organized across many scales, perhaps with larger structures repeated at smaller scales, as in fractals. Or it may have order hidden within apparent randomness - a chaotic system. A system producing complex data may be more flexible or adaptable than one that can only produce simple data. Many physiological systems show complex behavior, whose complexity can change with aging or disease. For muscles, the ability to adapt complexity of output to meet changing goals might predict how well a new task is learned. I study how complexity of initial performance predicts learning of new tasks with lip and tongue muscles in healthy younger and older adults. Eventually, this work may lead to better therapies for people with difficulties swallowing or speaking. The patterns overlain on the tongue and lips in the image are magnified sections of the Mandelbrot set, a well-known fractal. The overall shape references the famous "butterfly effect" from the earliest studies of chaos in weather, while the title alludes to Sir Terry Pratchett’s explanation of why scientists really study chaos (Witches Abroad).
Issue Date:2015-04
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Christian Bronson-Lowe
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-04-16

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