[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study investigated the extent to which manual fluency was associated with speech fluency in fluent speakers engaged in dual motor tasks. Thirteen right-handed adult females repeatedly drew circles with a pen on a digitizer tablet under five conditions: (1) a baseline (without reading or listening to speech), (2) reading fluently, (3) reading disfluently, (4) listening to fluent speech, and (5) listening to disfluent speech. The primary measure of disfluency was normalized mean squared jerk (NJ) in the pen strokes. Pen stroke time (ST) and pressure (PP) were also measured. NJ of the circle movements was significantly increased in both the disfluent reading and the disfluent listening conditions (p<0.05), compared to the baseline condition. In the fluent listening and reading conditions, NJ in circle drawing was unaltered compared to the baseline condition. Relative to baseline, ST increased significantly (p<0.05), but to a similar extent in all experimental conditions. Significantly (p<.05) greater pen pressure were also found in the disfluent versus fluent conditions. Positive correlations (r=0.33-0.63) were found between NJ and ST across conditions. These findings demonstrate that in dual-tasks, speech fluency can influence manual fluency. This is consistent with the corpus of data showing neural connectivity between manual and speech tasks, as well between perception and production. The mirror neuron system is implicated as a mechanism involved in forging these links.
Human movement science 06/2013; · 2.15 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The present study aimed at investigating how frequently and intensely depersonalization/derealization symptoms occur during a stressful performance situation in social phobia patients vs. healthy controls, as well as testing hypotheses about the psychological predictors and consequences of such symptoms. N=54 patients with social phobia and N=34 control participants without mental disorders were examined prior to, during, and after a standardized social performance situation (Trier Social Stress Test, TSST). An adapted version of the Cambridge Depersonalization Scale was applied along with measures of social anxiety, depression, personality, participants' subjective appraisal, safety behaviours, and post-event processing. Depersonalization symptoms were more frequent in social phobia patients (92%) than in controls (52%). Specifically in patients, they were highly positively correlated with safety behaviours and post-event-processing, even after controlling for social anxiety. The role of depersonalization/derealization in the maintenance of social anxiety should be more thoroughly recognized and explored.
Journal of anxiety disorders 02/2013; 27(2):178-187. · 2.68 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is generally known to be efficacious in the treatment of social phobia when applied in RCT's, namely when the treatment manual is based on the Clark-Wells approach. However, little is known about the efficacy of manualized treatments in routine clinical practice (Phase IV of psychotherapy research). The present study (SOPHO-PRAX) is a continuation of a large multi-centre randomized clinical trial (SOPHO-NET) and analyses the extent to which additional training practitioners in manualized procedures enhances treatment effect. METHODS: N = 36 private practitioners will be included in three treatment centres and randomly designated to either training in manualized CBT or no specific training. The treatment effects of the therapies conducted by both groups of therapists will be compared. A total of 162 patients (N = 116 completers; N = 58 per condition) will be enrolled. Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS) will serve as primary outcome measure. Remission from social phobia is defined as LSAS total [less than or equal to] 30 points. Data will be collected at treatment begin, after 8, 15, and 25 sessions (50 mins. each), at treatment completion, as well at 6 and 12 months post-treatment. DISCUSSION: The present CBT trial combines elements of randomized-controlled trials and naturalistic studies in an innovative way. It will directly inform about the incremental effects of procedures established in a controlled trial into clinical practice. Study results are relevant to health care decisions and policy. They may serve to improve quality of treatment, and shorten the timeframe between the development and widespread dissemination of effective methods, thereby reducing health cost expenditures. The results of this study will not only inform about the degree to which the new methods lead to an improvement of treatment course and outcome, but also about whether the effects of routine psychotherapeutic treatment are comparable to those of the controlled, strictly manualized treatments of the SOPHO-NET study. Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01388231. This study was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (SOPHO-NET: BMBF 01GV0607; SOPHO-PRAX: BMBF 01GV1001).
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Motor involvement in speech perception has been recently studied using a variety of techniques. In the current study, EEG measurements from Cz, C3 and C4 electrodes were used to examine the relative power of the mu rhythm (i.e., 8-13 Hz) in response to various audio-visual speech and non-speech stimuli, as suppression of these rhythms is considered an index of 'mirror neuron' (i.e., motor) activity. Fourteen adult native English speaking females watched and listened to nine audio-video stimuli clips assembled from three different auditory stimuli (speech, noise, and pure tone) combined with three different video stimuli (speech, noise, and kaleidoscope-made from scrambling an image from the visual speech). Relative to the noise-noise (baseline condition), all visual speech conditions resulted in significant levels of suppression, a finding that is consistent with previous reports of mirror activity to visual speech and mu suppression to 'biological' stimuli. None of the non-speech conditions or conditions in which speech was presented via audition only resulted in any significant suppression of the mu rhythm in this population. Thus, visual speech perception appears to be more closely associated with motor activity than acoustic speech perception. It is postulated that in this study, the processing demands incurred by the task were insufficient for inducing significant mu suppression via acoustic speech only. The findings are discussed in theoretical contexts of speech perception and the mirror system. We suggest that this technique may offer a cost-efficient, non-invasive technique for measuring motor activity during speech perception.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Stuttering is prone to strike during speech initiation more so than at any other point in an utterance. The use of auditory feedback (AAF) has been found to produce robust decreases in the stuttering frequency by creating an electronic rendition of choral speech (i.e., speaking in unison). However, AAF requires users to self-initiate speech before it can go into effect and, therefore, it might not be as helpful as true choral speech during speech initiation.
To examine how AAF and choral speech differentially enhance fluency during speech initiation and in subsequent portions of utterances.
Ten participants who stuttered read passages without altered feedback (NAF), under four AAF conditions and under a true choral speech condition. Each condition was blocked into ten 10 s trials separated by 5 s intervals so each trial required 'cold' speech initiation. In the first analysis, comparisons of stuttering frequencies were made across conditions. A second, finer grain analysis involved examining stuttering frequencies on the initial syllable, the subsequent four syllables produced and the five syllables produced immediately after the midpoint of each trial.
On average, AAF reduced stuttering by approximately 68% relative to the NAF condition. Stuttering frequencies on the initial syllables were considerably higher than on the other syllables analysed (0.45 and 0.34 for NAF and AAF conditions, respectively). After the first syllable was produced, stuttering frequencies dropped precipitously and remained stable. However, this drop in stuttering frequency was significantly greater (approximately 84%) in the AAF conditions than in the NAF condition (approximately 66%) with frequencies on the last nine syllables analysed averaging 0.15 and 0.05 for NAF and AAF conditions, respectively. In the true choral speech condition, stuttering was virtually (approximately 98%) eliminated across all utterances and all syllable positions.
Altered auditory feedback effectively inhibits stuttering immediately after speech has been initiated. However, unlike a true choral signal, which is exogenously initiated and offers the most complete fluency enhancement, AAF requires speech to be initiated by the user and 'fed back' before it can directly inhibit stuttering. It is suggested that AAF can be a viable clinical option for those who stutter and should often be used in combination with therapeutic techniques, particularly those that aid speech initiation. The substantially higher rate of stuttering occurring on initiation supports a hypothesis that overt stuttering events help 'release' and 'inhibit' central stuttering blocks. This perspective is examined in the context of internal models and mirror neurons.
International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders 03/2009; 44(6):1000-17. · 1.44 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: People who stutter are often acutely aware that their speech disruptions, halted communication, and aberrant struggle behaviours evoke reactions in communication partners. Considering that eye gaze behaviours have emotional, cognitive, and pragmatic overtones for communicative interactions and that previous studies have indicated increased physiological arousal in listeners in response to stuttering, it was hypothesized that stuttered speech incurs increased gaze aversion relative to fluent speech. The possible importance in uncovering these visible reactions to stuttering is that they may contribute to the social penalty associated with stuttering. Aims: To compare the eye gaze responses of college students while observing and listening to fluent and severely stuttered speech samples produced by the same adult male who stutters. Methods & Procedures: Twelve normally fluent adult college students watched and listened to three 20-second audio-video clips of the face of an adult male stuttering and three 20-second clips of the same male producing fluent speech. Their pupillary movements were recorded with an eye-tracking device and mapped to specific regions of interest (that is, the eyes, the nose and the mouth of the speaker). Outcomes & Results: Participants spent 39% more time fixating on the speaker's eyes while witnessing fluent speech compared with stuttered speech. In contrast, participants averted their direct eye gaze more often and spent 45% more time fixating on the speaker's nose when witnessing stuttered speech compared with fluent speech. These relative time differences occurred as a function of the number of fixations in each area of interest. Thus, participants averted their gaze from the eyes of the speaker more frequently during the stuttered stimuli than the fluent stimuli. Conclusions & Implications: This laboratory study provides pilot data suggesting that gaze aversion is a salient response to the breakdown in communication that occurs during stuttering. This response may occur as a result of emotional, cognitive, and pragmatic factors in communication partners. Regardless of the factors contributing to the response, its primary importance may be that gaze aversion is a visible communication partner signal informing the person stuttering that something is amiss in the interaction and hence, may contribute to inducing negative emotions in the persons stuttering, via engagement of the mirror neuron system. We suggest that witnessing and interpreting communication partner responses to stuttering may play a role when a person who stutters engages in future interactions, perhaps contributing to the development of covert strategies to hide stuttering.
International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders 01/2009; 45(2):133-44. · 1.44 Impact Factor