Interpreting Results of the Fluent Speech Paradigm in Stuttering Research Difficulties in Separating Cause From Effect Research Article
Research Article  |   February 1994
Interpreting Results of the Fluent Speech Paradigm in Stuttering Research
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Joy Armson
    Dalhousie University Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
  • Joseph Kalinowski
    Dalhousie University Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
  • Contact author: Joy Armson, PhD, Dalhousie University, 5599 Fenwick Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 1R2 Canada.
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 1994
Interpreting Results of the Fluent Speech Paradigm in Stuttering Research
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1994, Vol. 37, 69-82. doi:10.1044/jshr.3701.69
History: Received March 23, 1993 , Accepted September 27, 1993
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 1994, Vol. 37, 69-82. doi:10.1044/jshr.3701.69
History: Received March 23, 1993; Accepted September 27, 1993

This paper examines difficulties inherent in interpreting results of studies that compare the fluent speech characteristics of stutterers and nonstutterers. The majority of these studies have reported stutterer/nonstutterer differences in temporal parameters of fluent speech production. Such differences have been interpreted as indicating that stutterers possess temporal-motor deficits that are ever-present in speech and, therefore, causal to stuttering. However, a problem for researchers studying the fluent speech of stutterers is that samples may be contaminated by the influence of stuttering. In this paper, evidence is reviewed which suggests that characteristics of the perceptually fluent speech of stutterers change as a function of a number of variables: (a) context of experimental samples, (b) treatment history of subjects, (c) stuttering severity of subjects, and (d) developmental history of stuttering. In addition, evidence is presented which can be interpreted to show that each of these variables reflect stuttering, either directly or indirectly. It is argued that because these variables are difficult to fully control, or account for, comparison of the characteristics of the perceptually fluent speech of stutterers and nonstutterers as a method of studying stuttering causation is problematic. Alternative directions for research activity are discussed.

Acknowledgments
Joseph Kalinowski and Joy Armson should be considered equal authors of this paper. We thank Andrew Stuart, Dale Metz, Jeanna Riley, Bruno Repp, and an anonymous reviewer for helpful comments on an earlier draft. Preparation of this paper was supported in part by NIH Grant DC-00121 awarded to Haskins Laboratories. Portions of it were presented at the Annual Conference of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association held at San Antonio, Texas, in November 1992.
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