Home > Stuttering.Microblog > The use of verbal reaction times in stuttering research: not so bogus?

The use of verbal reaction times in stuttering research: not so bogus?

I’ve always laughed my head off when I see stuttering “researchers” use verbal (i.e., vocal) reaction times to infer linguistic or neurophysiological functioning in people who stutter stutterers.  I mean, think about it–is it delayed neuro-processing power, or simply the fact that people who stutter stutterers are actually stuttering during the study!  In any event, this study seems to suggest that the verbal reaction times of stutterers (while slower) seem to follow the same patterns of fluent controls. This leads the researchers to suggest that delays in verbal reaction times in stutterers aren’t associated w/ linguistic processing, but rather some (other) neuro-mechanism.  Other reseachers may not like these data…

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  1. Ralph
    March 19th, 2009 at 21:20 | #1

    I subscribe to this blog and like it very much, but I’d be interested to know what is the story behind always striking “people who stutter”, in every post, and following it up with “stutterers”.

    I’m one of those persons who stutter who think it’s PC/psychological bullshit and call themselves (and refer to others) as stutterers, but I think its confrontational to always rub it in the faces of people who prefer the alternative like that.

    But maybe that’s a mistaken impression that I get because I’m not familiar with the purpose of it in this blog, so that’s why I’d like to know more about it.


  2. Greg @ Stuttering.me
    March 19th, 2009 at 21:27 | #2

    Thanks for your kind comment, Ralph. The disdain for person-first terminology can be (initially) found in the following post: [ http://stuttering.me/?p=1029 ]

    In essence, person first terminology inherently assumes that the condition is a bad thing. That the condition doesn’t define me. (Talked about this in a podcast too.) And I just find that entirely bogus. Pretty much every aspect of my life has been touched by stuttering in some direct or indirect fashion. And since I don’t see stuttering as a bad thing, then why do it. Further, let me repeat that person first terminology is inherently negative. We don’t call attractive women “women who are hot.” We cal them “hot women.” If it’s perceived as a positive trait, then it can define us. If it’s perceived as a negative trait, then we use person-first terminology. I just reject this notion entirely; it’s a backhanded perpetuation of the negative stuttering stereotype by fostering the idea that it’s bad…


  3. Cricket
    March 20th, 2009 at 08:38 | #3

    I’d rather they ask questions and investigate than ignore it. Maybe stutterers with different reaction times will do better with one type of therapy than another? Maybe it will help identify comorbid conditions? Maybe they’ll prove it’s bogus, and discredit those who base their entire approach on it?

    There’s some research on reaction time in ADHD kids, with interesting results. http://adhd-treatment-options.blogspot.com/2009/03/do-adhd-kids-use-their-brain-regions.html


  4. Greg @ Stuttering.me
    March 20th, 2009 at 09:46 | #4

    I think you could be on to something there, as I’ve actually wondered the same thing. The idea that stuttering is *the* pathology, or results from *one* neurological origin just seems like an irrational premise. I’m not sure that anything would be revealed in this type of research, but it certainly seems possible.

    And thanks for the link; I’ll be sure to check it out.


  1. March 20th, 2009 at 22:15 | #1