The influence of executive functions on phonemic processing in children who do and do not stutter

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Purpose: The aim of the present study was to investigate dual-task performance in children who stutter (CWS) and those who do not to investigate if the groups differed in the ability to attend and allocate cognitive resources effectively during task performance. Method: Participants were 24 children (12 CWS) in both groups matched for age and sex. For the primary task, participants performed a phoneme monitoring in a picture– written word interference task. For the secondary task, participants made pitch judgments on tones presented at varying (short, long) stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA) from the onset of the picture. Results: The CWS were comparable to the children who do not stutter in performing the monitoring task although the SOA-based performance differences in this task were more variable in the CWS. The CWS were also significantly slower in making tone decisions at the short SOA and showed a trend for making more errors in this task. Conclusions: The findings are interpreted to suggest higher dual-task cost effects in CWS. A potential explanation for this finding requiring further testing and confirmation is that the CWS show reduced efficiency in attending to the tone stimuli while simultaneously prioritizing attention to the phoneme-monitoring task.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2792-2807
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders R03 Grant DC010047 to the PI. We acknowledge our participants and thank research assistants Cara Donohue, Kristie Gonzalez, and Erin Weathers for data collection and reliability coding and Edward Carney for technical assistance. The authors do not have any conflict of interest to disclose.

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