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RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TEMPERAMENT AND DYSFLUENCIES UNDER DELAYED AUDITORY FEEDBACK IN FLUENT SPEAKERS. Eden Treadway, B.S., Tyler McMurtry, B.S., MBA, Brittany Zarse, B.A., Bernelda Thomas, B.S., Elizabeth Yeager, B.A., & Vijaya K. Guntupalli, Ph.D.

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Eden Treadway, B.S., Tyler McMurtry, B.S., MBA, Brittany Zarse, B.A., Bernelda Thomas, B.S., Elizabeth Yeager, B.A., & Vijaya K. Guntupalli, Ph.D.

Department of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN


This study systematically examined the relationship between individual susceptibility to delayed auditory feedback (DAF) and temperamental profiles of fluent adult speakers. DAF has shown to not only increases fluency in individuals who stutter, but also creates disfluencies in fluent speakers. However, there is considerable variability in individual response to DAF, and factors responsible for this variability are not clearly understood. Twenty-four typically fluent participants (8 males, 16 females) performed both a conversational and reading task under 0ms, 100ms, 200ms, and 400ms of DAF. Using videotaped samples, stutter-like disfluencies (e.g. prolongations, mono-syllabic word repetitions, and silent blocks) were then measured for each participant. Each participant also completed the Adult Temperamental Questionnaire (ATQ) (Derryberry & Rothbart, 1988; Rothbart, Ahadi, & Evans, 2000). Of four temperament dimensions measured by the ATQ, Negative Affect exhibited a significant negative correlation with the number of stuttering-like disfluencies produced at 200 ms delay. Specifically, a subscale of Negative Affect, Discomfort, showed a significant negative correlation. The ability to predict a fluent speaker's performance on tasks under DAF based on temperament profile may eventually provide insight to the prediction of treatment effects of DAF in people who stutter.

  • Method

  • Participants:

    • 24 fluent adult speakers (16 females and 8 males) from northeast Tennessee.

    • Inclusionary criteria: right handedness, no history of speech and language disorders including stuttering, native English speakers.

  • Procedures:

    • Participants were video-taped during two speaking tasks, reading and conversation under 0, 100, 200, and 400ms DAF.

    • The DAF signal was crated by using a digital signal processor (Digitech Studio S-200)

    • Reading passages included four randomized 300 syllable passages at 7th grade reading level.

    • Conversational tasks included participant response to several questions related to topics such as recently seen movies, etc, in order to obtain a 300 syllable sample.

    • Half of the participants began the study with the conversational condition, while the other half began with the reading passages.

    • Speaking samples were then measured by a graduate clinician for stuttering disfluencies.

      • Disfluencies measured included part word repetitions, prolongations, mono-syllabic word repetitions, and silent blocks.

    • The ATQ, consisting of 177 questions, was given after both speaking tasks .

    • The ATQ was scored manually for each participant on four main scales: Negative Affect, Extraversion, Effortful Control, and Orienting Sensitivity.

    • The statistical analyses was performed using the software, SSPS.

  • Discussion

  • Previous research has indicated that attentional control, a sub-component of Effortful Control, may be a contributing factor affecting fluent individuals response to DAF (Corey & Cuddapah, 2008).

  • Corey & Cuddapah (2008) acknowledged that limited empirical evidence existed concerning the relationship between auditory attention and effects of DAF. Our study explored this correlation between attention and SLDs, and found no significant association between the two.

  • Discomfort, a sub-construct of Negative Affect, was significantly negatively correlated with DAF effects. Evans & Rothbary (2006) explain discomfort as an “unpleasant affect resulting from the sensory qualities of stimulation,” such as visual, auditory, smell/taste, and tactile. Our findings indicate that those individuals who have least discomfort has higher number disfluencies under DAF. It is possible that the temporal asynchronous (i.e., DAF) signal is interfering with the speech production in those who were least discomforted by the DAF signal.

  • The present findings should be interpreted with caution due to two major limitations: small sample size (n=24) and an unequal number of males and females.

  • Results

  • Only stutter-like disfluencies (SLD) in conversational speech under 200ms DAF were included in this data analysis.

  • Conversational speech at this DAF level has shown to produce maximum number of disfluencies (Stuart et al., 2002).Of the four major dimensions measured by the ATQ, Negative Affect (r = -.469, p = .05, n = 24) presented a significant negative correlation with conversational disfluencies under DAF at 200ms.

  • Further analysis according to four subgroups displayed a significant negative correlation for the specific subgroup of Discomfort (r = -.532, p = .01, n = 24) under the same conversational and DAF conditions.

  • Specific Discomfort subgroups also displaying significant negative correlation under these conditions include both Visual Discomfort (r = -.457, p = 0.05, n = 24) and Auditory Discomfort (r = -.541, p = 0.01, n =24).

  • Contrary to previous suggestions, Attentional Control was found to be insignificantly correlated with the number of SLDs in conversation under DAF conditions at 200ms

  • *.Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).

  • orrelation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).

  • **. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed)

  • *.Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed)

  • *. Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed)..

Future ResearchIt should be noted that these results are preliminary and should be viewed as the basis for further research concerning the relationship between temperament and SLDs caused by DAF in fluent adults. Future research should further explore the contributing factors for variability in individual susceptibility to DAF.

IntroductionDelayed auditory feedback (DAF) is a well-known method to increase fluency in individuals who stutter. However, it has also been shown to induce disfluencies in some normally fluent speakers (Lee, 1950). Normal speakers tend to produce more disfluencies at a longer delay time (i.e. 200 ms) under DAF (Stuart et al., 2002). Evidence has also shown that the normal speaking population generally shows greater variability in reaction to DAF (Timmons, 1982). Temperament is one of many possible factors influencing individual variability in response to DAF. Temperament refers to individual differences in a person’s tendency to behave, think, and feel in certain consistent manners under various circumstances (Chase, Sutton, First, & Zubin, 1961). Previous research has linked emotionally reactive and sensitive temperaments to disfluent speech (Anderson, Pellowski, Mark, Conture, & Kelly, 2003). However, no research to date has examined the relationship between individual temperament profiles in fluent adults and response to DAF. Understanding this relationship may result in better understanding of disfluency for both clinical treatment and research evidence. The purpose of the present study is to examine the relationship between temperament profile and response under DAF in normally fluent adult speakers.

ReferencesAnderson, J.D., Pellowski, M.W., Conture, E.G., Kelly, E. M. (2003). Temperamental characteristics of young children who stutter. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 46,1211-1233.Chase, R.A., Sutton, S., First, D., & Zubin, J. (1961). A developmental study of changes in behavior under delayed auditory feedback. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 99,101-112. Corey, D.M., & Cuddapah, V.A. (2008). Delayed auditory feedback effects during reading and conversation tasks: Gender differences in fluent adults. Journal of Fluency Disorders, 33, 291-305. Derryberry, D. & Rothbart, M.K. (1988). Arousal, affect, and attention as components of temperament. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 55, 958-966.Lee, B.S. (1950). Effects of delayed speech feedback. Journal of Acoustic Society of America, 22, 824-826. Rothbart, M.K. Ahadi, S.A. & Evans D.E. (2000). Temperament and personality: Origins and outcomes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78, 122-135.Stuart, A., Kalinowski, J., Rastatter, M.P., Lynch, K. (2002). Effect of delayed auditory feedback on normal speakers at two speech rates. Journal of Acoustical Society of America, 111(5), 2237-2241.Timmons, B.A. (1982). Physiological factors related to delayed auditory feedback and stuttering: A review. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 55, 1179-1189.