Priming Anxiety into People who Stutter: Arousal's Influence on Fluency

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Daniel J. Hudock (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
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Abstract: Many experimental psychologists (Bargh, Chen & Burrows, 1996; Berner & Maier, 2004; Bowers, 1999; Chartrand, VanBaaren & Bargh, 2006; Chen & Haviland-Jones, 2000; Hazlett, Dawson, Schell & Filion, 1990; Macky-Sim & Laing, 1981; Sato & Aoki, 2006; Wilkowski & Robinson, 2007) have examined priming's influence over behavior, cognition, and language across modalities. This idea of priming or influencing a behavior with subtle cues has revealed great effect on state anxiety and cognition. The change in state anxiety is relevant to stuttering and is sought due to the hypothesized interaction between the pathology and anxiety. It has been suggested that people who stutter (PWS) are more anxious and less confident than typical speakers (Daniels & Gabel, 2004; Guitar, 2003; Peters & Hulstijn, 1984). Yet this interaction of anxiety's influence on the degree and severity of stuttering has yet to be fully explored but is determined to have a strong correlation (Guitar, 2003; Miller & Watson, 1992; Peters & Hulstijn, 1984). However situational anxieties have shown to either increase (Craig, 1990) or have no effect (Armson, Foote, Witt, Kalinowski & Stuart, 1997; Kalinowski, Stuart, Wamsley & Rastatter, 1999) on dysfluencies in PWS. Though this study did not examine the effects of situations on anxiety it tried to examine a more basic unit of anxiety. This compartmentalized approach examined basic emotional priming's influence on arousal. It examined the relationship between physiologic and self-reported arousals' effect on fluency in PWS. This relationship was examined via priming tasks of silent readings of emotionally embedded analogous word sets then physiologic, self-reported arousal assessments and speech samples to assess priming's influence. Priming sets included positive, negative, and neutral conditions post baseline data. Conditions were randomly chosen and administered to influence altered arousal states in PWS. Experimental trials were separated into physiologic and speech sample collection phases. Initially during the physiologic phase participants remained seated and motionless while connected to skin conductance transducers and heart rate electrodes as they silently read the priming tasks. Post priming interstimulus phases of self reported arousal assessments via the Self Assessment Manikin (SAM) arousal scale (Lang, 1980) and regression to physiologic baseline were administered. The independent variable for this experiment was the priming condition, with dependent variables of physiologic arousal (skin conductance and heart rate), self-reported arousal (Self Assessment Manikin arousal scale Lang, 1980), and stuttered syllable counts. A significant difference was noted in stuttered syllables during the positive priming condition of the speech sample phase. This positive condition differed from all other conditions (Baseline, Negative, and Neutral) by the significant reduction of stuttered syllables per passage. These results are similar to Young, (1985) which explains the true baseline of (PWS) can never be increased, but only decreased. He describes the true baseline as PWS interacting in real situations not involved with the clinic environment.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2008
Speech Pathology, Health Sciences, Anxiety, Arousal, Dysfluency, Fluency, Priming, Stuttering

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