Anderson, J. D., & Wagovich, S. A. (2010). Relationships among linguistic processing speed, phonological working memory, and attention in children who stutter. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 35, 216-234.
Studies of speech reaction time (SRT) are thought to examine the efficiency with which a person processes and responds to language-based stimuli. The few studies that have examined SRT in groups of children who stutter (CWS) and their typically developing peers have revealed mixed findings.
One finding is that longer SRT’s correspond with higher receptive vocabulary scores in children who do not stutter, but that for CWS, there appears to be no relationship between vocabulary and SRT. It is proposed that the relationship between vocabulary scores and SRT’s in typically fluent groups is mediated by lexical competition, such that individuals with larger vocabularies take longer to select a word and thus have slower reaction times than children with poorer vocabularies. Anderson and Wagovich hypothesized that factors related to lexical processing, such as phonological working memory, may correlate with SRT’s in children who stutter. These researchers also investigated whether attentional processes may affect SRT’s in CWS.
In this study, groups of children who do or do not stutter completed nonword repetition, picture naming, and their parents completed a temperament questionnaire about them. These measures were used to evaluate phonological working memory, SRT, and attention, respectively. Results revealed that performance on tests of nonword repletion related to SRT in the children who stuttered but not the typically fluent group. Anderson and Wagovich concluded that for CWS, phonological working memory is associated with SRT.
Nonword repetition is typically considered to be a measure of phonological short-term memory because it involves immediate repetition only, rather than additionally requiring information processing as in working memory tasks. More broadly, nonword repetition taps several processes involved in phonological processing (discrimination, encoding, storage, output). Further work is needed to understand what underlying process may account for the associations between nonword repetition and SRT in the CWS in this study.
Blogger: Alexandra Smith