The Effect of Static and Dynamic Visual Gestures on Stuttering Inhibition

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The aim of the study was to evaluate the role of steady-state and dynamic visual gestures of vowels in stuttering inhibition. Eight adults who stuttered recited sentences from memory while watching video presentations of the following visual speech gestures: (a) a steady-state /u/, (b) dynamic production of /a-i-u/, (c) steady-state /u/ with an accompanying audible 1kHz pure tone, and (d) dynamic production of /a-i-u/ with an accompanying audible 1kHz pure tone. A 1kHz pure tone and a no-external signal condition served as control conditions. Results revealed a significant main effect of auditory condition on stuttering frequency. Relative to the no-external signal condition, the combined visual plus pure tone conditions resulted in a statistically significant reduction in stuttering frequency. In addition, a significant difference in stuttering frequency was also observed when the visual plus pure tone conditions were compared to the visual only conditions. However, no significant differences were observed between the no-external signal condition and visual only conditions, or the no-external signal condition and pure tone condition. These findings are in contrast to previous findings demonstrated by similar vowel gestures presented via the auditory modality that resulted in high levels of stuttering inhibition. The differential role of sensory modalities in speech perception and production as well as their individual capacities to transfer gestural information for the purposes of stuttering inhibition is discussed.