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posted on 24.07.2020, 04:30 authored by Alexandra Korzeczek, Joana Cholin, Annett Jorschick, Manuel Hewitt, Martin Sommer

Originary neurogenic, non-syndromatic stuttering has been linked to a dysfunctional sensorimotor system. Studies have demonstrated that adults who stutter (AWS) perform poorly at speech and finger motor tasks and learning (e.g., Smits-Bandstra et al., 2006b; Namasivayam and van Lieshout, 2008). The high relapse rate after stuttering treatment could be a further hint for deficient motor learning and, in particular, for the limited generalization of the learned technique in daily communication. In this study, we tested generalization of finger sequence skills in AWS using an effector-dependent transfer task after a 24-h retention period. Additionally, we wanted to corroborate previous motor learning results in AWS for practice and retention: 16 AWS and 16 age-, sex-, and education-matched controls performed the task during four test sessions. Our results indicate that generalization performance in AWS was not inferior to that of fluent controls. In addition, we found, contrary to previous results, that AWS showed a steeper learning progress after practice and consolidation compared with controls. We suggest that with sufficient practice and a 24-h consolidation phase, AWS are able to retain the learned performance of tapping a five-item finger sequence as well as fluent controls in terms of speed and accuracy.

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