Identification of neural structures involved in stuttering using vibrotactile feedback

Brain Lang. 2018 May-Jul:180-182:50-61. doi: 10.1016/j.bandl.2018.03.002. Epub 2018 May 7.


Feedback delivered over auditory and vibratory afferent pathways has different effects on the fluency of people who stutter (PWS). These features were exploited to investigate the neural structures involved in stuttering. The speech signal vibrated locations on the body (vibrotactile feedback, VTF). Eleven PWS read passages under VTF and control (no-VTF) conditions. All combinations of vibration amplitude, synchronous or delayed VTF and vibrator position (hand, sternum or forehead) were presented. Control conditions were performed at the beginning, middle and end of test sessions. Stuttering rate, but not speaking rate, differed between the control and VTF conditions. Notably, speaking rate did not change between when VTF was delayed versus when it was synchronous in contrast with what happens with auditory feedback. This showed that cerebellar mechanisms, which are affected when auditory feedback is delayed, were not implicated in the fluency-enhancing effects of VTF, suggesting that there is a second fluency-enhancing mechanism.

Keywords: Altered auditory feedback; EXPLAN; Stuttering; Vibrotactile feedback.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cerebellum / physiology*
  • Feedback, Sensory / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reading
  • Speech / physiology
  • Speech Perception / physiology
  • Stuttering / diagnosis
  • Stuttering / physiopathology*
  • Touch / physiology*
  • Vibration*