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The influence of text type, topic familiarity, and stuttering severity on listener recall and comprehension

James Panico, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Research on listener perceptions of stuttering has played an important role in helping to understand the impact that stuttering has on various aspects of communication. Past research has shown that stuttering impacts listener recall and comprehension. However, many of these studies were conducted with methodological limitations. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the influence of text type, topic familiarity, and stuttering severity on listener recall, comprehension, and perceived mental effort. ^ A total of 60 participants were assigned to one of four stuttering severity levels and listened to two narrative and two expository texts, where each text type consisted of familiar and unfamiliar information. Participants performed a free recall task and answered a series of cued recall and comprehension questions for each passage. In addition, participants rated their perceived mental effort after listening to each passage. The final component involved having participants provide verbal responses to three open-ended questions. ^ Using a repeated measures ANOVA analysis, quantitative results showed significant main effects for text type and familiarity across the free and cued recall as well as comprehension measures. Significant main effects were also found for free recall with respect to topic familiarity but not for cued recall and comprehension. Finally, perceived mental effort ratings were significantly different between familiar and unfamiliar texts. However, there was a significant interaction between text type and stuttering for mental effort. ^ The qualitative analysis revealed four theme clusters that corresponded to the nature of participants' comments about how the speech was produced and its effect on their recall and comprehension of the information. Results are discussed relative to the congruence with past research and explanatory power of the two models used in the study. ^ Clinical implications of the results suggest not only focusing on the management of speech in terms of the stuttering but on the linguistic complexity of the spoken information as well. Suggestions for future research are also proposed. ^

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Speech Pathology

Recommended Citation

Panico, James, "The influence of text type, topic familiarity, and stuttering severity on listener recall and comprehension" (2005). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3201774.