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Med Hypotheses. 2003 Apr;60(4):538-43.

Speaking with a mirror: engagement of mirror neurons via choral speech and its derivatives induces stuttering inhibition.

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East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.


'Choral speech', 'unison speech', or 'imitation speech' has long been known to immediately induce reflexive, spontaneous, and natural sounding fluency, even the most severe cases of stuttering. Unlike typical post-therapeutic speech, a hallmark characteristic of choral speech is the sense of 'invulnerability' to stuttering, regardless of phonetic context, situational environment, or audience size. We suggest that choral speech immediately inhibits stuttering by engaging mirror systems of neurons, innate primitive neuronal substrates that dominate the initial phases of language development due to their predisposition to reflexively imitate gestural action sequences in a fluent manner. Since mirror systems are primordial in nature, they take precedence over the much later developing stuttering pathology. We suggest that stuttering may best be ameliorated by reengaging mirror neurons via choral speech or one of its derivatives (using digital signal processing technology) to provide gestural mirrors, that are nature's way of immediately overriding the central stuttering block.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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