Lexical representations in children who stutter: evidence using a gating paradigm



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This thesis investigated lexical representations of children who stutter (CWS) and children who do not stutter (CWNS) using a duration-blocked gating task. This thesis tested the hypothesis that children who stutter have underspecified phonological representations for words, are less sensitive to incremental and segmental information for lexical items, and therefore require more acoustic-phonetic information to activate words in their lexicon. Pilot data collected from fourteen children (ages 5;6 to 10;1): 7 CWS and 7 CWNS matched on age were included in this thesis. Results showed that children in both talker groups required relatively equal amounts of acoustic-phonetic information to identify target words. A regression model revealed that age in months predicted performance on the gating task for CWNS, but that age in months did not predict performance on the gating task for CWS suggesting a difference in the developmental maturity of lexical representations in CWS. Possible conclusions from these pilot data are presented along with recommendations for future research.