Genes Versus Cognitions in Stuttering: A Needless Dichotomy The anticipatory struggle hypothesis holds that stuttering blocks are occasioned by the speaker’s belief that certain words are difficult to say without stuttering. Packman, Menzies, and Onslow (2000) state that this position is untenable because of its resistance to experimental investigation and because of recent evidence of genetic and ... Letter to the Editor
Letter to the Editor  |   November 01, 2000
Genes Versus Cognitions in Stuttering: A Needless Dichotomy
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Oliver Bloodstein
    Brooklyn College Brooklyn, NY
  • Contact author: Oliver Bloodstein, PhD, 135 Willow St., Apt. 1004, Brooklyn, NY 11201.
    Contact author: Oliver Bloodstein, PhD, 135 Willow St., Apt. 1004, Brooklyn, NY 11201.×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Letters to the Editor
Letter to the Editor   |   November 01, 2000
Genes Versus Cognitions in Stuttering: A Needless Dichotomy
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, November 2000, Vol. 9, 358-359. doi:10.1044/1058-0360.0904.358
History: Received February 28, 2000 , Accepted September 11, 2000
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, November 2000, Vol. 9, 358-359. doi:10.1044/1058-0360.0904.358
History: Received February 28, 2000; Accepted September 11, 2000
The anticipatory struggle hypothesis holds that stuttering blocks are occasioned by the speaker’s belief that certain words are difficult to say without stuttering. Packman, Menzies, and Onslow (2000) state that this position is untenable because of its resistance to experimental investigation and because of recent evidence of genetic and constitutional differences between groups of people who stutter and controls.
Heredity almost certainly does play an important part in the etiology of stuttering, but this fact is not incompatible with the anticipatory struggle hypothesis. It seems to me possible that genes may predispose a child in some way to being excessively disfluent, but that in its later forms stuttering is a learned reactive development that has persisted after the genetic influence has diminished or gone. If so, this would go far to explain the high rate of spontaneous recovery from stuttering. It is consistent with this view that there are demonstrable differences between the features of incipient and developed stuttering, suggesting that early stuttering consists of difficulty in the initiation of whole utterances or their constituent syntactic structures, whereas later stuttering is a rather different problem that mainly involves difficulty in the initiation of words (Bloodstein & Grossman, 1981; Bloodstein, 1993, pp. 137–145, 1997).
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