Effects of a Metronome on the Filled Pauses of Fluent Speakers

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Journal of Speech & Hearing Research, Volume 39, Number 6, p.1232-1238 (1996)




automaticity, disfluency, filled pauses, metronome, stuttering


Filled pauses (the "ums" and "uhs" that litter spontaneous speech) seem to be a product of the speaker paying deliberate attention to the normally automatic act of talking. This is the same sort of explanation that has been offered for stuttering. In this paper we explore whether a manipulation that has long been known to decrease stuttering, synchronizing speech to the beats of a metronome, will then also decrease filled pauses. Two experiments indicate that a metronome has a dramatic effect on the production of filled pauses. This effect is not due to any simplification or slowing of the speech and supports the view that a metronome causes speakers to attend more to how they are talking and less to what they are saying. It also lends support to the connection between stutters and filled pauses.