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Phonological processing abilities of adults who stutter

Pelczarski, Kristin (2011) Phonological processing abilities of adults who stutter. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This study investigated phonological awareness, phonological memory and rapid automatic naming abilities of adults who stutter and typically fluent peers. Many theorists posit that a delay or breakdown occurs during “phonological encoding,” or the retrieval or construction of phonological segments (Howell & Au-Yeung, 2002; Perkins, Kent & Curlee, 1991; Postma & Kolk, 1993; Wingate 1988). Efficient phonological encoding is predicated upon the ability to segment phonological representations in a rapid, precise manner. According to current theories, a delay or incomplete retrieval of lexical segments could impede the execution of the articulatory plan, thereby resulting in disfluent speech. Unfortunately, the process of phonological encoding is not directly observable and must therefore be explored though alternate processes that reflects its incremental nature. Phonological awareness, phonological memory and rapid automatic naming can be examined to accomplish this task. Several core mechanisms are utilized during phonological processing, and a deficit in any of these mechanisms could account for performance differences in phonological processing tasks. Completion of these tasks is dependent upon the quality of phonological representations in the lexicon, the ability to construct novel phonological codes online, and the ability to maintain phonological representations in memory. The process of redintegration, whereby pre-existing lexical-semantic knowledge is used to supplement decaying or delayed phonological code (Hulme et al., 1997), can also play an important role in the completion of phonological processing tasks.
Participants completed several tasks examining different aspects of their phonological processing abilities. Significant between-group differences were revealed on nonlexical phonological awareness tasks, nonword repetition tasks, and rapid automatic naming tasks that used lexical stimuli. Adults who stutter performed significantly less well than typically fluent adults on tasks that used nonlexical stimuli. Adults who stutter appear to rely heavily on lexical-semantic information (redintegration) to bolster lower performance in other aspects of phonological encoding. Participants in both groups performed equally well on tasks that used lexical stimuli but not on tasks with nonlexical stimuli, indicating that between-group differences in phonological encoding exist. Differences in core mechanisms of phonological processing may reveal subtle linguistic differences that may contribute to an unstable speech system in people who stutter.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairYaruss, J. Scottjsyaruss@pitt.eduJSYARUSS
Dickey, Michealmdickey@pitt.eduMDICKEY
Leslie, Paulapleslie@pitt.eduPLESLIE
Fiez, Juliesfiez@pitt.eduFIEZ
Date: 19 December 2011
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 4 November 2011
Approval Date: 19 December 2011
Submission Date: 8 December 2011
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 231
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Communication Science and Disorders
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: stuttering; phonological processing; linguistic processing; phonological awareness; phonological memory; phonological encoding
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2011 20:39
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:55


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