Phonologic Processing in Adults Who Stutter Electrophysiological and Behavioral Evidence Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 2004
Phonologic Processing in Adults Who Stutter
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Christine Weber-Fox
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Rebecca M. C. Spencer
    University of California, Berkeley
  • John E. Spruill, III
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Anne Smith
    Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: weberfox@purdue.edu
  • Contact author: Christine Weber-Fox, Department of Audiology & Speech Sciences, Purdue University, Heavilon Hall, 500 Oval Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907.
    Contact author: Christine Weber-Fox, Department of Audiology & Speech Sciences, Purdue University, Heavilon Hall, 500 Oval Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907.×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 2004
Phonologic Processing in Adults Who Stutter
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2004, Vol. 47, 1244-1258. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/094)
History: Received September 3, 2003 , Revised February 29, 2004 , Accepted May 17, 2004
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2004, Vol. 47, 1244-1258. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/094)
History: Received September 3, 2003; Revised February 29, 2004; Accepted May 17, 2004
Web of Science® Times Cited: 49

Event-related brain potentials (ERPs), judgment accuracy, and reaction times (RTs) were obtained for 11 adults who stutter and 11 normally fluent speakers as they performed a rhyme judgment task of visually presented word pairs. Half of the word pairs (i.e., prime and target) were phonologically and orthographically congruent across words. That is, the words looked orthographically similar and rhymed (e.g., thrown, own) or did not look similar and did not rhyme (e.g., cake, own). The phonologic and orthographic information across the remaining pairs was incongruent. That is, the words looked similar but did not rhyme (e.g., gown, own) or did not look similar but rhymed (e.g., cone, own). Adults who stutter and those who are normally fluent exhibited similar phonologic processing as indexed by ERPs, response accuracy, and RTs. However, longer RTs for adults who stutter indicated their greater sensitivity to the increased cognitive loads imposed by phonologic/orthographic incongruency. Also, unlike the normally fluent speakers, the adults who stutter exhibited a right hemisphere asymmetry in the rhyme judgment task, as indexed by the peak amplitude of the rhyming effect (difference wave) component. Overall, these findings do not support theories of the etiology of stuttering that posit a core phonologic-processing deficit. Rather we provide evidence that adults who stutter are more vulnerable to increased cognitive loads and display greater right hemisphere involvement in late cognitive processes.

Acknowledgments
This work was funded by Grants DC02527 and DC00559 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. We thank William Murphy for his help in recruiting participants who stutter. We also thank Janna Berlin for scheduling the participants, and Bridget Walsh and Jennifer Kleinow for help in the speech, language, and hearing testing of some of the participants. Portions of this study were presented at the 2003 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association conference in Chicago.
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