Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Tom's oracle

Being dysfluent does not seem to be the only dysfunction we have. I have spoken about sub-standard dual tasks performance before. People who stutter are not good at learning or doing dual tasks (the details are a bit more subtle). Professor Webster from Canada was the first to study this experimentally; an excellent piece of science in the midst of the common appallingy low quality and headless research in stuttering.

Why should we be worse in some dual tasks???


We need to find out why. If we succeed, we will understand stuttering much better. And no-one can claim to understand stuttering if they cannot explain this effect.

This line of research is the key to the stuttering mystery, and a feast for a scientist:
1. it is not about speech. (but stuttering is supposed to be a speech disorder!)
2. it is a reproducable effect. (try to reproduce the same stuttering!)
3. it is a measurable and quantifiable effect. (try to quantise stuttering severity properly!)
4. it is free of psycho and behavioural noise. (try to disentangle how much of stuttering severity is bad habit, how much situational and how much fundamental!)


Einar said...

Aha, interesting question...
And I always thought that why I'm not good in doing dual tasks was due to the fact that I'm male...

Law Student said...

I've never noticed a lack of ability to perform more than one task at once. Interesting information, though.

Hugo said...

One more argument to convince me about close relation between stuttering and the basal ganglia, brain structures involved in automatization.

Anonymous said...

because the stuttering mind requires more facilities to speak?

Anonymous said...

My teen son has been diagnosed with ADHD-inattentive type and has stuttered since age 2 or 3. I have always felt that the two were tied together. He has a hard time using the techniques, and if he does, it's hard to concentrate on anything. Processing speed in class is much slower than what is expected and makes the task and speech worse if he is made to hurry. I hope more can be found out! --Lynne

Tom Weidig said...

Hi Lynne,

there are some researchers who see a link between the two. Your kid might have had some mild neurological incident around age 2-3 and therefore develop stuttering and ADHD-like symptoms.

However, it might also be a pure coincidence. For example, some kids stutter and have asthma. That does not necessarily mean that both are related to each other. The kid might just have been unlucky to get both.

Chris said...

I've stuttered for 26 years and I don't believe that the ability to do dual tasks at once is my problem. I can do two tasks at once. Matter of fact, I can usually speak better when my mind is preoccupied prior to speaking.

You may be onto something. I'm not sure the cause of stuttering, but I know it is a combination of physical and mental dimensions.

Best of luck to everybody.