Stuttering and Speech Perception by Others

Published: 2022-12-30
Stuttering and Speech Perception by Others
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  History Sociology Other Civil rights
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 988 words
9 min read

This study aims to come up with findings on how others perceive the speeches of individuals who stutter in their speeches. According to Smith (2018), stuttering is a neurodevelopment disorder whose symptoms include involuntary and frequent disruption in the production of speech. Often, people tend to have negative perceptions of individuals who stammer. One of the areas from where this idea came from is the study by Amick, Chang, Wade, and McAuley (2017) who researched the social and cognitive impressions of adults who do and do not stutter based on listeners' perceptions of read-speech samples. According to the authors of this article, even without the knowledge of who the speaker is, there is a negative social and cognitive impression that others form when listening to a speech from a staggering person. Another source for this idea is the study by Chunming Lu who researched the relationship between speech production and perception in people who stutter. Many researchers like Woods and Williams have established that indeed there is a negative perception by other people when they interact with people who stutter (PWS).

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According to Smith (2018) in his article Listener's Perceptions of Stuttering, there are high chances that people who stutter would be stereotyped by others in society. When a fluent speaker or the non-stuttering speakers listen to a stuttering person, they tend to become uncomfortable by assuming that they also have some discomfort. Several studies have also described the people who stutter as being nervous, shy, and quiet. Again, there are higher chances that stammers would experience anxiety in a variety of speaking context, and as a result of this, most of them would like to withdraw from the social situation, a condition that has made most of the people to perceive the stutters as less competent and intelligent individuals (Smith, 2018). Adolescent stutters undergo a common type of bullying whereby their peers tend to imitate them for the sole purpose of making fun of them.

Typically, there is a wrong perception in public about people who stutter, and such perceptions have been accepted across the world. Some of the wrong attitudes that people have against the stutters include ignoring them as they speak, to feeling bothered with their speeches. The media is a significant contributor to such ill perceptions and or attitudes. In the movies, for instance, the stutters are always portrayed as people who are weak, insecure, or incompetent. For example in the film The King's Speech, the king is described throughout the movie as being fearful and anxious when stuttering. It is, however, true that fear is a particular aspect of stuttering, and stuttering has been perceived as a weakness in the movie since the king is portrayed only to have powers in the moments when he does not stutter.

According to Amick, Chang, Wade, and McAuley (2017), individuals who stutter are subject to negative perceptions that are not related to their stuttering. Stuttering adults are judged by others to have lower levels of cognition, more anxious and less likable as compared to the typically speaking individuals.

People should learn to wait until a person who stutters finish saying his or her point before they can interrupt, and likewise, in schools, the teachers should not force such students to read aloud or speak up, as a means of showing concern for their condition. According to experts, people who stutter forms up to one percent of the world's population. The implication of this is that several people all over the world have the problem of uttering words, fulfilling responsibilities at work, and carrying on daily conversations. However, there is a dilemma since people who stutter have different reactions. Some of them want the person they are communicating with to remain patient until they finish their statements even if they cannot speak totally. Others on the other side do not want the other person to wait. Again, some of the people who stutter enjoy speaking in public while others find it very difficult. However, it is inappropriate for the non-stuttering people to give the people who stutter special considerations as this could also be humiliating. These people want to build a relationship where there can be open communication between people who stutter and typically-speaking individuals.

Studies have also shown that stuttering has moderate to small effect on the listener, and such perspectives can be explained by how the listeners respond to stutters. However, there are incidences where the listeners could have positive reactions like giving higher ratings in personality, intelligence, and appearance; and this is when the person who stutters practices self-disclosure. This includes the speaker mentioning that he or she is a stutter at the beginning of the conversation so that the audience or the listeners are aware of what to expect. As a result of self-disclosure, most of the listeners have a positive attitude towards the stutter; and in cases where the stutter does not disclose themselves before the conversation, listeners feel more embarrassed and develop a negative attitude towards them (Smith, 2018).


Amick, L. J., Chang, S. E., Wade, J., & McAuley, J. D. (2017). Social and Cognitive Impressions of Adults Who Do and Do Not Stutter Based on Listeners' Perceptions of Read-Speech Samples. Frontiers in psychology, 8, 1148.

Lu, C., Long, Y., Zheng, L., Shi, G., Liu, L., Ding, G., & Howell, P. (2016). Relationship between speech production and perception in people who stutter. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 10, 224.

Smith, K. L. (2018). Listener's Perceptions of Stuttering.

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