Speech production in people who stutter: Testing the motor plan assembly hypothesis
SourceJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 39, 1, (1996), pp. 76-92
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC CO
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
The main purpose of the present study was to test the hypothesis that persons who stutter, when compared to persons who do not stutter, are less able to assemble abstract motor plans for short verbal responses. Subjects were adult males who stutter and age- and sex-matched control speakers, who were tested on naming pictures and words, using a choice-reaction time paradigm for both tasks. Words varied in the number of syllables (1, 2, and 3 syllables) and, for the bisyllabic words, also in the number of consonants (one or more) at the onset of the second syllable. Measurements consisted of speech reaction times, word durations, and measures of relative timing of specific motor events in the respiratory, phonatory, and articulatory subsystems. Results indicated that, in spite of longer speech reaction times for persons who stutter in comparison to control speakers, there was no interaction with word size, a finding that does not lend support to the abovementioned hypothesis. Word durations were found to be longer for persons who stutter, and, in addition, there was an interaction of group with word size. Both findings were associated with longer delays for persons who stutter in the onset of upper lip integrated electromyographic (IEMG) activity and thoracic compression, and a group effect on the order of upper lip and lower lip IEMG onset. Findings are taken to suggest the possibility that persons who stutter may use different motor control strategies to compensate for a reduced verbal motor skill, and although the nature of this reduced skill is unknown, it is speculated that it relates to the processes involved in the integration of sensory-motor information.
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