Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bodenhamer: First reply

 Several readers have left comments to which I would like to reply:
Explain to me why some people stutter on the same set of words in some situations and are fluent in others.
 It is not relevant whether I can give an explanation or not. I say that his statements are wrong, and I give evidence from brain imaging and genetics. You have not disproved my arguments.

Even though my explanation is not relevant to the debate, I will give it nevertheless. There is a neurobiological instability in the brain of people who stutter, unlike in fluent brains. This makes the speech system very sensitive to breakdowns at high demands. My theory is that

(a) some situations are more demanding that others. Maybe the person had a bad day, more stress, is ill, or just feels anxiety in the current situations. Moreover, in some situations our brain is much busier formulating our message and filtering out stuff.

All these things modulate the capacity of the sensitive speech system, and leads to block.

(b) people are conditioned to fear certain situations because they have stuttered in the past. When they get in the same situation, they get anxious against and express the same behaviour.

I only see your description as requiring a doctorate to understand, but his understandable by a layman--but both are not actually too different from each other.
 The point is simply that his explanation is simply wrong because it contradicts scientific evidence. As I said before, I agree that psychosocial aspects modulate stuttering, and he effectively works on this. But his explanation of causes are simply wrong.

As a person who has benefited first-hand from Bob's works you may call it what you want, and I'll continue to benefit from his theories...
 Benefiting a theory does not mean the theory is correct. Some people believe in ghosts, and feel better when they are appeased. That does not mean that those ghosts actually exist.

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