Communication Disorders Ph.D. Dissertations


Development and Implementation of Implicit Association Tests for Perceptions toward Stuttering Speakers and Fluent Speakers

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Communication Disorders/Speech-Language Pathology

First Advisor

Rodney Gabel (Advisor)

Second Advisor

William O'Brien (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Alexander Goberman (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Roger Colcord (Committee Member)


Past research regarding attitudes about people who stutter has generated a wealth of knowledge from explicit methods of data collection like Likert scales, semantic differential scales, and open ended questionnaires. The addition of an implicit measure of attitudes like an Implicit Association Test (IAT) may complement the explicit knowledge the field already possesses toward stuttering. To date, few studies in stuttering have utilized implicit measures to explore attitudes towards people who stutter (PWS). The purposes of this manuscript was to develop stimuli to be inserted into two IATs for Stuttering Speaker versus Fluent Speaker instruments (Picture IAT and Word IAT), to gather implicit attitudes and explicit attitudes from fluent college students, and then compare implicit and explicit attitudes. Results indicated that the Picture IAT yielded significantly fewer strong implicit attitudes than the Word IAT which may indicate that these two instruments are stimulating different attitudes about fluent and stuttered speakers or speech. Results further indicate a gap between implicit and explicit attitudes from fluent college participants where moderate to strong implicit associations toward fluent speakers (inversely moderate to strong negative associations toward stuttering speakers) were present while moderate to strong positive attitudes were reported for explicit attitudes toward both PWS and People Who Do Not Stutter (PWDS). These findings may validate a duel processing model discussed in IAT research. Further research is needed in the field of fluency disorders with a variety of participants to examine strength of associations using these two implicit instruments and the relationships with explicit measures.