Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

News

Study Shows Adults Who Stutter Stop if They Think No One Is Listening

More than 70 million people worldwide are thought to have some kind of stuttering speech impediment – including the current President of the United States – and experts are still continuing to learn more about the condition and what causes it.

 

Now a new study has revealed something that may give us a big clue into why stuttering happens and how we can treat it: When adults who stutter are on their own and think no one is listening, their stutter suddenly goes away.

And it seems to be that perception of having a listener that’s key. What’s important about this particular piece of research is that the study participants were convinced that no one was around to hear what they were saying, providing solid scientific evidence for how different scenarios affect the condition.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

“There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that people who stutter don’t stutter when talking alone, but this phenomenon has not been confirmed in the lab, mainly because it’s difficult to create conditions in which people believe that they are truly alone,” says Eric Jackson, a speech-language pathologist and researcher from New York University.

The researchers enlisted 23 volunteers and put them through five different scenarios: reading aloud, private speech (the only scenario where it appeared that no one was listening), repeating the private speech for two listeners, and two different conversations with researchers.

 

For the private speech scenario, the participants were given a trio of challenging computer coding tasks to complete, tasks known to get people talking to themselves in the past. Participants were also told that those who talked out loud while doing the task usually performed better at it.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The volunteers were falsely told that no one would be listening in while they did the computing task, though they were still being monitored and recorded by the researchers. It was the only scenario where stuttering was nearly non-existent across all 23 study participants.

stutter chartStuttering across scenarios. (Jackson et al., Journal of Fluency Disorders, 2021)

“We developed a novel method to convince participants that they are alone – that their speech wouldn’t be heard by a listener – and found that adult stutterers do not stutter under these conditions,” says Jackson.

Having been informed afterward that they had been deceived, all of the volunteers agreed to continue with the experiment. The next question is why the lack of an audience has such a significant effect on problems with speech fluency.

That’s not something the researchers go into too much detail during this particular study, but they do note that there could be an element of feeling judged or evaluated when there are other people around to listen in.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Stuttering is thought to come about through a combination of genetics and neurophysics. One possible avenue to explore in the future is at what stage social considerations start to affect young children who stutter.

“I think this provides evidence that stuttering isn’t just a ‘speech’ problem, but that at its core there must be a strong social component,” says Jackson.

The research has been published in the Journal of Fluency Disorders.

 

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

News

A new kind of chemotherapy derived from a molecule found in a Himalayan fungus has been revealed as a potent anti-cancer agent, and may...

News

You can’t see them from the surface, but they’re definitely there. Scientists have revealed the discovery of hundreds of ancient ceremonial sites, many of...

Technology

Developed by Leonardo da Vinci, one of the most amazing engineers ever born, it is an example of a bridge that you can build...

News

Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere reached record levels last year, the United Nations said Monday, in a stark warning as Britain’s Boris Johnson...

News

Your internal organs grow and change throughout your life, but rarely do they vanish without a trace. For baby octopuses, things are not so simple....

News

Almost 20 years after researchers first predicted electron quadruplets, evidence of their existence has been shown to occur in experimental setups, representing a brand...

News

Now, possibly more than ever before, engineers and scientists happen to be taking inspiration from nature when developing technology. This is especially true for...

News

Playing through the greenery and litter of a mini forest’s undergrowth for just one month may be enough to change a child’s immune system,...

News

It had been only designed to fly five occasions. But NASA’s helicopter on Mars, Resourcefulness, has completed 12 flights also it is not prepared...

Advertisement