Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Speech with Major emphasis in Audiology and Speech Pathology









Physical Description

1 online resource (xi, 141 leaves, ill. 28 cm.)


In recent years, operant conditioning techniques have been effectively used to modify a variety of behaviors. For the most part, the modification of stuttering behavior has relied solely on the use of punishment. The shaping of "fluency” through differential reinforcement has been reported as a behavioral approach for the treatment of stuttering; however, the effectiveness of this technique in combination with other "teaching" tools, such as, modeling, instruction, and explanation has not been reported in the literature.

The purpose of this study was to construct behavioral definitions of terminology utilized in a stuttering treatment program at Portland State University to produce "self-monitored normal, fluent speech" and to structure the procedures of this program with regard to baseline, conditioning, and extinction in order to provide a base for further research leading to the standardization of procedures for this program.

A 35 year old male was chosen as the subject for this study. Specific procedures were applied in three baseline sessions in order to determine the base operant level of interference responses and positive and negative language responses in reading, monologue, and dialogue settings.

The emission of interference and language responses were tracked throughout the conditioning and follow-up phases of the program by (I) random sample analysis of audio tapes by the experimenter and (2) a complete analysis of video-tapes by the experimenter and six student trackers.

The response goals of the conditioning phase included four progressive stages of motor response ("stretch and flow, "increased breathiness-reduced stretch," "reduced breathiness," and "normal, fluent speech") in addition to a repertoire of positive language responses. The self-monitoring of these responses was conditioned by using differential reinforcement supported by modeling, instruction, and explanation of responses. Throughout the conditioning phase, varying schedules and magnitudes of different reinforcements were utilized to strengthen the subject's monitoring of the above responses in increasing intensities of environmental stimuli. An examiner, other than the experimenter, administered the procedures for a follow-up baseline four weeks after the conditioning phase in order to determine the base operant level of interference responses and positive and negative language responses in reading, monologue, and dialogue settings after the removal of reinforcement in the clinic. The results of the data obtained from the baseline and follow up phases of the program revealed a reduction from 11.7 to 0.86 in the total number of interference responses per minute emitted by the subject and an increase from 29 to 83 percent of positive language responses. These results suggest the effectiveness of the procedures in this program for establishing “self-monitored normal, fluent speech" behavior.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Persistent Identifier