Sentence-Structure Priming in Young Children Who Do and Do Not Stutter The purpose of this study was to use an age-appropriate version of the sentence-structure priming paradigm (e.g., K. Bock, 1990; K. Bock, H. Loebell, & R. Morey, 1992) to assess experimentally the syntactic processing abilities of children who stutter (CWS) and children who do not stutter (CWNS). Participants were 16 ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2004
Sentence-Structure Priming in Young Children Who Do and Do Not Stutter
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Julie D. Anderson
    Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • Edward G. Conture
    Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: judander@indiana.edu
  • Contact author: Julie D. Anderson, PhD, Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, Indiana University, 200 South Jordan Avenue, Bloomington, IN 47405-7002. E-mail: judander@indiana.edu
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2004
Sentence-Structure Priming in Young Children Who Do and Do Not Stutter
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2004, Vol. 47, 552-571. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/043)
History: Received July 26, 2003 , Accepted October 4, 2003
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2004, Vol. 47, 552-571. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/043)
History: Received July 26, 2003; Accepted October 4, 2003
Web of Science® Times Cited: 51

The purpose of this study was to use an age-appropriate version of the sentence-structure priming paradigm (e.g., K. Bock, 1990; K. Bock, H. Loebell, & R. Morey, 1992) to assess experimentally the syntactic processing abilities of children who stutter (CWS) and children who do not stutter (CWNS). Participants were 16 CWS and 16 CWNS between the ages of 3;3 (years; months) and 5;5, matched for gender and age (±4 months). All participants had speech, language, and hearing development within normal limits, with the exception of stuttering for CWS. All children participated in a sentence-structure priming task where they were shown and asked to describe, on a computer screen, black-on-white line drawings of children, adults, and animals performing activities that could be appropriately described using simple active affirmative declarative (SAAD) sentences (e.g., "The man is walking the dog"). Speech reaction time (SRT) was measured from the onset of the picture presentation to the onset of the child's verbal response in the absence and presence of priming sentences, counterbalanced for order. Main findings indicated that CWS exhibited slower SRTs in the absence of priming sentences and greater syntactic-priming effects than CWNS. These findings suggest that CWS may have difficulty rapidly, efficiently planning and/or retrieving sentence-structure units, difficulties that may contribute to their inabilities to establish fluent speech-language production.

Acknowledgments
This article is based on a doctoral dissertation completed at Vanderbilt University in 2002 by Julie D. Anderson, who is now at Indiana University, Bloomington. This research was supported in part by a National Institutes of Health Grant DC00523 to Vanderbilt University. We thank Kathryn Bock, Stephen Camarata, Lee Ann Golper, and Robert Wertz for their thoughtful and insightful reviews of earlier versions of this manuscript. We would especially like to thank Herman Kolk for his early encouragement, guidance, and support to pursue this line of investigation. We also give special thanks to Mark Pellowski for his help with creating the computerized experiment and interjudge measurement reliability and Courtney Zackheim for her help with the data collection process. We are also very grateful to the parents and children who participated in this research, without whom there would be no study.
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