Task Complexity and Manual Reaction Times in People Who Stutter The study was designed to test the hypothesis that manual reaction time differences between people who stutter and those who do not reflect the information processing complexity of the task. The study focused on decision complexity in a reaction time paradigm. One manipulation involved increasing the number of response alternatives ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 1991
Task Complexity and Manual Reaction Times in People Who Stutter
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • William G. Webster
    Carleton University Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • C. R. Lynne Ryan
    Carleton University Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • Requests for reprints should be addressed to William G. Webster, Stuttering Research Laboratory, Department of Psychology, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1S 5B6.
Article Information
Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 1991
Task Complexity and Manual Reaction Times in People Who Stutter
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 1991, Vol. 34, 708-714. doi:10.1044/jshr.3404.708
History: Received February 16, 1990 , Accepted September 28, 1990
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 1991, Vol. 34, 708-714. doi:10.1044/jshr.3404.708
History: Received February 16, 1990; Accepted September 28, 1990

The study was designed to test the hypothesis that manual reaction time differences between people who stutter and those who do not reflect the information processing complexity of the task. The study focused on decision complexity in a reaction time paradigm. One manipulation involved increasing the number of response alternatives The second involved the spatial contiguity of signal and response locus. Twenty-four adult stutterers and 24 nonstutterers were compared with respect to response initiation and completion times on the various task conditions. Contrary to the hypothesis, there was no significant Group x Complexity interaction in the analysis of either response measure for either complexity manipulation. Stutterers were slower than nonstutterers overall, but with increasing decision complexity, the group response times paralleled one another. It is concluded that whatever response planning and organization deficit there may be in people who stutter, it is independent of decision complexity but may be evident in manipulations of response complexity defined in terms of spatial and temporal coordination.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by a grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada awarded to WGW, and formed part of the research carried out by CRLR in partial fulfillment of her M.A. degree requirements. The authors express their sincere gratitude to Joanne Hakkaku who so ably assisted in the conduct of the study in a number of important respects, including the testing of participants in one of the two replications.
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