A Theory of Neuropsycholinguistic Function in Stuttering A theory of neurolinguistic function is proposed to explain fluency and the production of stuttered and nonstuttered speech disruptions Central to the theory is the idea that speech involves linguistic and paralinguistic components, each of which is processed by different neural systems that converge on a common output system. Fluent ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 1991
A Theory of Neuropsycholinguistic Function in Stuttering
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • William H. Perkins
    University of Southern California
  • Raymond D. Kent
    University of Wisconsin
  • Richard F. Curlee
    University of Arizona
  • Requests for reprints should be sent to William H. Perkins, University of Southern California, Kerckhoff Hall, 734 West Adams Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90007.
Article Information
Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 1991
A Theory of Neuropsycholinguistic Function in Stuttering
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 1991, Vol. 34, 734-752. doi:10.1044/jshr.3404.734
History: Received June 19, 1989 , Accepted October 29, 1990
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 1991, Vol. 34, 734-752. doi:10.1044/jshr.3404.734
History: Received June 19, 1989; Accepted October 29, 1990

A theory of neurolinguistic function is proposed to explain fluency and the production of stuttered and nonstuttered speech disruptions Central to the theory is the idea that speech involves linguistic and paralinguistic components, each of which is processed by different neural systems that converge on a common output system. Fluent speech requires that these components be integrated in synchrony. When they are dyssynchronous, the result can be either nonstuttered disfluency or stuttering, depending on time pressure. Time pressure is defined as the speaker’s need to begin, continue, or accelerate an utterance. Nonstuttered disfluency results when the linguistic and paralinguistic components are dyssynchronous and the speaker is not under time pressure. Stuttering results when the speaker is under time pressure and is relatively unaware of the cause of dyssynchrony. Both of these factors are necessary for the identification of the phenomenon of stuttering. Stuttering is defined as disruption of speech that is experienced by the speaker as a loss of control The theory presented here accounts for both the disruption and the experienced loss of control.

Acknowledgment
We are deeply indebted to Thomas Hixon who contributed extensively to development of the concepts in this manuscript. Without his help many of these ideas might not have emerged. We are also indebted to Debora Sue-O’Brien for her clinical observations which led to the concept of linguistic stuttering.
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