What stuttering reveals about the development of the gesture-speech relationship.
- PubMed: 9507705
(from the chapter) Examined 2 hypotheses regarding the nature of the gesture-speech relationship. One hypothesis is that gesture and speech are separate communication systems and that the links that exist between the 2 modes are governed by the requirements of speech expression. Secondly, the independent systems hypothesis holds that gesture is an auxiliary system with respect to speech and that it functions as an aid to speech during temporary or sporadic failures. An alternative hypothesis is that gesture and speech form an integrated system that functions as a single communication stream. Two studies are presented. In Exp 1, 6 adult chronic stutterers and 6 non-stutterers narrated events depicted in an animated cartoon to an unfamiliar and neutral listener. Upon analyses of speech disfluencies, differences were found in the frequency with which Ss produced stuttered disfluencies. Ss who stuttered produced half the number of gestures produced by controls. A second study was conducted to replicate and extend these finding in 2 11-yr-old males diagnosed with a severe level of chronic stuttering and 2 age and sex matched controls. While all the children gestured significantly less frequently than the adult Ss, control Ss grounded more total gestures than the children who stuttered.