Cortical associates of emotional reactivity and regulation in childhood stuttering

J Fluency Disord. 2018 Jun;56:81-99. doi: 10.1016/j.jfludis.2018.04.001. Epub 2018 Apr 19.


Purpose: This study sought to determine the cortical associates of emotional reactivity and emotion regulation (as indexed by the amplitude of evoked response potentials [ERP]) in young children who do and do not stutter during passive viewing of pleasant, unpleasant and neutral pictures.

Method: Participants were 17 young children who stutter and 22 young children who do not stutter (between 4 years 0 months to 6 years 11 months). The dependent measures were (1) mean amplitude of late positive potential (LPP, an ERP sensitive to emotional stimuli) during passive (i.e., no response required) picture viewing and directed reappraisal tasks and (2) emotional reactivity and regulation related scores on caregiver reports of young children's temperament (Children's Behavior Questionnaire, CBQ).

Results: Young CWS, when compared to CWNS, exhibited significantly greater LPP amplitudes when viewing unpleasant pictures, but no significant between-group difference when viewing pleasant pictures and during the emotion regulation condition. There were, however, for CWS, but not CWNS, significant correlations between temperament-related measures of emotion and cortical measures of emotional reactivity and regulation.

Conclusions: Findings provide further empirical support for the notion that emotional processes are associated with childhood stuttering, and that CWS's inherent temperamental proclivities need to be taken into account when empirically studying or theorizing about this association.

Keywords: Brain; Children; Cortical; ERPs; Emotion; Emotional reactivity; Event-related potentials; LPP; Late positive potential; Regulation; Stuttering.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Stuttering / diagnosis*
  • Stuttering / pathology