A comparison of lexical access in adults who do and do not stutter

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Previous work has postulated that a deficit in lexicalization may be an underlying cause of a stuttering disorder (Prins, Main, & Wampler, 1997; Wingate, 1988). This study investigates the time course of lexicalization of nouns and verbs in adults who stutter. A generalized phoneme monitoring (GPM) paradigm was used. Both populations showed a significant effect of word class (verbs yielded slower and less accurate monitoring than nouns), as well as phoneme position (word medial/final phonemes yielded slower and less accurate monitoring than word initial phonemes). Few significant differences were found between groups, although the experimental group showed poorer performance in all conditions, with the exception of null trials, where the experimental group actually out-performed the control group. The trends provide some level of support for the notion that people who stutter have a deficit in lexicalization, although the effect is mitigated by the lack of significance.