Uh I forgot what I was going to say: How memory affects fluency

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


The 7th Workshop on Disfluency in Spontaneous Speech (DiSS 2015), Edinburgh, Scotland (2015)


DiSS, error repair, hesitation, long term lexical memory, working memory


Disfluency rates vary considerably between individuals. Previous studies have considered gender, age and conversational roles amongst other factors that may affect fluency. Testing a nonclinical, gender-balanced population of young adults performing the same speaking tasks, this study explores how inter-speaker variations in working memory and in long-term (lexical) memory affect disfluency in two different ways. Working memory was tested by a forward digit span test; long-term lexical memory was tested by the Verbal Fluency Test, both semantic and phonological versions. In addition, each participant provided 3 one-minute samples of monologue speech. The speech samples were analysed for disfluencies. Speakers with lower working memory scores produced more error repairs in running speech. Speakers with lower lexical access scores produced a higher rate of hesitations. The two types of memory affected fluency in different ways.


University of Edinburgh; August 8-9, 2015