Does Working Memory Enhance or Interfere With Speech Fluency in Adults Who Do and Do Not Stutter? Evidence From a Dual-Task Paradigm Purpose The present study examined whether engaging working memory in a secondary task benefits speech fluency. Effects of dual-task conditions on speech fluency, rate, and errors were examined with respect to predictions derived from three related theoretical accounts of disfluencies. Method Nineteen adults who stutter and twenty adults ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2016
Does Working Memory Enhance or Interfere With Speech Fluency in Adults Who Do and Do Not Stutter? Evidence From a Dual-Task Paradigm
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Naomi Eichorn
    The University of Memphis, TN
  • Klara Marton
    The Graduate School and University Center, The City University of New York, New York
    Bárczi Gusztáv College of Special Education, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary
  • Richard G. Schwartz
    The Graduate School and University Center, The City University of New York, New York
  • Robert D. Melara
    The City College of New York, New York
  • Steven Pirutinsky
    Georgian Court University, Lakewood Township, NJ
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Naomi Eichorn: neichorn@memphis.edu
  • Editor: Jody Kreiman
    Editor: Jody Kreiman×
  • Associate Editor: Hans-Georg Bosshardt
    Associate Editor: Hans-Georg Bosshardt×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2016
Does Working Memory Enhance or Interfere With Speech Fluency in Adults Who Do and Do Not Stutter? Evidence From a Dual-Task Paradigm
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2016, Vol. 59, 415-429. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-S-15-0249
History: Received July 17, 2015 , Revised October 19, 2015 , Accepted November 16, 2015
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2016, Vol. 59, 415-429. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-S-15-0249
History: Received July 17, 2015; Revised October 19, 2015; Accepted November 16, 2015
Web of Science® Times Cited: 1

Purpose The present study examined whether engaging working memory in a secondary task benefits speech fluency. Effects of dual-task conditions on speech fluency, rate, and errors were examined with respect to predictions derived from three related theoretical accounts of disfluencies.

Method Nineteen adults who stutter and twenty adults who do not stutter participated in the study. All participants completed 2 baseline tasks: a continuous-speaking task and a working-memory (WM) task involving manipulations of domain, load, and interstimulus interval. In the dual-task portion of the experiment, participants simultaneously performed the speaking task with each unique combination of WM conditions.

Results All speakers showed similar fluency benefits and decrements in WM accuracy as a result of dual-task conditions. Fluency effects were specific to atypical forms of disfluency and were comparable across WM-task manipulations. Changes in fluency were accompanied by reductions in speaking rate but not by corresponding changes in overt errors.

Conclusions Findings suggest that WM contributes to disfluencies regardless of stuttering status and that engaging WM resources while speaking enhances fluency. Further research is needed to verify the cognitive mechanism involved in this effect and to determine how these findings can best inform clinical intervention.

Acknowledgments
This study was funded by a Graduate School University Center Dissertation Fellowship awarded to the first author. We also wish to acknowledge Scott Yaruss for his valuable input and feedback related to this research, Claire Leake for her assistance with transcription and coding, and all the individuals who participated in this study.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access