Orofacial Movements Associated With Fluent Speech in Persons Who Stutter

McClean, Michael D.; Tasko, Stephen M.; Runyan, Charles M.
April 2004
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Apr2004, Vol. 47 Issue 2, p294
Academic Journal
This study was intended to replicate and extend previous findings that (a) during fluent speech persons who stutter (PS) and those who do not (NS) differ in their vocal tract closing movements (L. Max, A. J. Caruso, & V. L. Gracco, 2003) and (b) ratios relating lip and tongue speed to jaw speed increase with stuttering severity (M. D. McClean & C. R. Runyan, 2000). An electromagnetic system was used to record movements of the upper lip, lower lip, tongue, and jaw of 43 NS and 37 PS during productions of a nonsense phrase and a sentence. Measure-ment and analysis of movement speeds, durations, and ratios of lip and tongue speed to jaw speed were performed on fluent productions of a nonsense phrase and sentence. Statistical comparisons were made between PS with low and high stuttering severity levels (LPS and HPS) and NS. Significant variations across groups in movement speed and duration were observed, but the pattern of these effects was complex and did not replicate the results of the two earlier studies. In the nonsense phrase, significant reductions in lower lip closing duration, jaw closing duration, and jaw closing speed were seen in PS. In the sentence task, HPS showed elevated tongue opening and closing durations. For tongue opening in the sentence, LPS showed elevated speeds and HPS showed reduced speeds. The elevated speeds for LPS are interpreted as a contributing factor to speech disfluency, whereas the reduced speeds and increased durations in HPS are attributed to adaptive behavior intended to facilitate fluent speech. Significant group effects were not seen for the speed ratio measures. Results are discussed in relation to multivariate analyses intended to identify subgroups of PS.


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