A fNIRS investigation of speech planning and execution in adults who stutter

Eric Jackson, Sobanawartiny Wijeakumar, Derek Beal, Bryan Brown, Patricia Zebrowski, John Spencer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
28 Downloads (Pure)


Our study aimed to determine the neural correlates of speech planning and execution in adults who stutter (AWS). Fifteen AWS and 15 controls (CON) completed two tasks that either manipulated speech planning or execution processing loads. Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) was used to measure changes in blood flow concentrations during each task, thus providing an indirect measure of neural activity. An image-based reconstruction technique was used to analyze the results and facilitate their interpretation in the context of previous functional neuroimaging studies of AWS that used positron emission tomography (PET) or functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). For planning, we compared neural activity associated with high versus low planning load in AWS and CON. For execution, we compared the neural activity associated with overt versus covert naming in AWS and CON. Broadly, group level effects corroborate previous PET/fMRI findings including under-activation in lefthemisphere perisylvian speech-language networks and over-activation in righthemisphere homologues. Increased planning load revealed atypical left-hemisphere activation in AWS, whereas increased execution load yielded atypical right frontotemporo-parietal and bilateral motor activation in AWS. Our results add to the limited literature differentiating speech planning versus execution processes in AWS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-85
Number of pages13
Early online date6 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2019

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