Phonological working memory in adults who stutter
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Phonological working memory has been suggested as one of the multiple factors that contribute to the onset and persistence of stuttering. However, most studies investigating the link between phonological working memory and stuttering incorporated tasks that required an overt verbal response; thus, speech motor influences could not be excluded. Furthermore, stimulus presentation was restricted to auditory input, with no studies investigating both auditory and visual input modalities with the same experimental paradigm. The purpose of this dissertation was to investigate phonological working memory in adults who do and do not stutter using the N-back task as use of this task allowed both visual and auditory stimulus presentation without requiring an overt verbal response. In this task, participants were asked to monitor a series of visual (i.e., images) or auditory (i.e., words) stimuli and respond by pressing a “yes” button if the stimulus they previously viewed or heard was the same as the stimulus 1-, 2-, or 3-trials back. In addition to input modality, the type of linguistic information was also manipulated (i.e., phonologically similar versus dissimilar stimuli). Results indicated that participants performed differently in the visual and the auditory input modality, with AWS demonstrating poorer performance when processing linguistic information auditorily but not visually, for both phonologically similar and dissimilar stimuli.