Processing of Self-Repairs in Stuttered and Non-Stuttered Speech.
Previous research suggests that listeners can use the presence of speech disfluencies to predict upcoming linguistic input. But how is the processing of typical disfluencies affected when the speaker also produces atypical disfluencies, as in the case of stuttering? We addressed this question in a visual-world eye-tracking experiment in which participants heard self-repair disfluencies while viewing displays that contained a predictable target entity. Half the participants heard the sentences spoken by a speaker who stuttered, and half heard the sentences spoken by the same speaker who produced the sentences without stuttering. Results replicated previous work in demonstrating that listeners engage in robust predictive processing when hearing self-repair disfluencies. Crucially, the magnitude of the prediction effect was reduced when the speaker stuttered compared to when the speaker did not stutter. Overall, the results suggest that listeners’ ability to model the production system of a speaker is disrupted when the speaker stutters.
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