Explicit benefits: Motor sequence acquisition and short-term retention in adults who do and do not stutter

Fiona Höbler, Tali Bitan, Luc Tremblay, Luc De Nil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Motor sequencing skills have been found to distinguish individuals who experience developmental stuttering from those who do not stutter, with these differences extending to non-verbal sequencing behaviour. Previous research has focused on measures of reaction time and practice under externally cued conditions to decipher the motor learning abilities of persons who stutter. Without the confounds of extraneous demands and sensorimotor processing, we investigated motor sequence learning under conditions of explicit awareness and focused practice among adults with persistent development stuttering. Across two consecutive practice sessions, 18 adults who stutter (AWS) and 18 adults who do not stutter (ANS) performed the finger-to-thumb opposition sequencing (FOS) task. Both groups demonstrated significant within-session performance improvements, as evidenced by fast on-line learning of finger sequences on day one. Additionally, neither participant group showed deterioration of their learning gains the following day, indicating a relative stabilization of finger sequencing performance during the off-line period. These findings suggest that under explicit and focused conditions, early motor learning gains and their short-term retention do not differ between AWS and ANS. Additional factors influencing motor sequencing performance, such as task complexity and saturation of learning, are also considered. Further research into explicit motor learning and its generalization following extended practice and follow-up in persons who stutter is warranted. The potential benefits of motor practice generalizability among individuals who stutter and its relevance to supporting treatment outcomes are suggested as future areas of investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105959
JournalJournal of Fluency Disorders
StatePublished - Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Inc.


  • Consolidation
  • Finger opposition sequencing
  • Motor learning
  • Stuttering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Speech and Hearing
  • LPN and LVN


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