Thursday, January 08, 2009

Dead-end research

Here is a newly published article showing that non-stutterers understand the negative consequences of stuttering: Jobs, Sex, Love and Lifestyle: When Nonstutterers Assume the Roles of Stutterers. Zhang et al. conclude that 
social penalties associated with stuttering appear to be apparent to fluent individuals, especially in areas of vocation, romance, and daily activities, suggesting that nonstuttering individuals, when assuming the role of PWS, are capable of at least temporarily feeling the negative impact of stuttering.
Is this constructive research? I fear it's dead-end research like many other pieces of stuttering research. Ask yourself three questions: Is the result obvious? What have we learned? What's next? For me, the result is so obvious, that I cannot understand how someone spends his or her valuable time on such a project, unless I have a student and give him or her a project to learn about data collecting and analysis. Could you not have got there by asking a few non-stuttering friends? In fact, even I who stutter could put myself in the perspective of a stutterer, and would say the same? And, I am not accepting the argument: Science is about looking at everything carefully. The obvious can turn out to be less obvious. In 99% of the cases, the obvious turns out to be the obvious. Do you really want to run 100 projects to find the 1%. Moreover, it's about an n-order consequence. Gene to neurological damage to delay in sound initiation to stuttering to secondary symptoms to psychology to social behaviour. How can such a project result in finding anything non-obvious on a more fundamental level. We have just learned what we knew anyway. You can argue that we now know it with a big more certainty. Actually, I would argue that we have lost knowledge, because we believe that we know more but to be sure we need to replicate the experiment and do checks. So had we not done the experiment and said: this is obvious. We would engraved in our minds: We assume this as obvious so we are more careful to use this as a fact.
What can you do with the result? You can use it as a political tool maybe, or as a motivation to argue that the way we need to create awareness is to put the fluent speaker in our shoes. WOW! But could we not have made this argument anyway?


Anonymous said...

Tom - you wrote "Moreover, it's about an n-order consequence. Gene to neurological damage to delay in sound initiation to stuttering to secondary symptoms to psychology to social behaviour."

I would quibble with this statement. The n-order effects you refer to are applicable to stutterers, but not to non-stutterers. But the research focuses on non-stutterers. Gene/neurological damage/delay ... are not applicable to the behavior of non-stutterers (at least in the context in which you seem to be making this assertion).

Anonymous said...

This may also be a ridiculous reason to study non-stutterers response to stuttering, but could it validate some of the medical reimbursement or ADA $'s spent? It was obvious, but now there is documentation to justify the $'s spent.

Anonymous said...

Is this a high level journal....Folia Phoniatr Logop?

Anonymous said...

Because people read your your words have power.

what do you think the author of the published paper would feel?
Did you just call the research a piece of junk/useless research?

If you were in the same position and spent valuable time. And someone calls your research dead-end research?

And how does this post help with anything. Why not be more positive...instead of being negative (and the problem is still there and nothing is solved).

My suggestion: try to be more positive and talk is cheap. Be a problem solver and offer realistic suggestions, instead of complain, complain, complain :)

Tom Weidig said...

I replied with a post.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous (The one complaining about Weidig's attitude on his blog)

Being honest is not being negative. Being honest is being honest.

People who stutter have been subject to way to much bulls**t from the professional S & L "experts" and "reseachers" for way to long. I don't agree with Weidig's view to often, but he does not appear to be a candya** and let things be the same old same old...

Like the "researchers" and "experts" have solved anything; who you trying to kid?

Calling a spade a spade is just obvious...The vast majority of "researchers" and "expert's" are a bunch of posers...

That's how I honestly feel, and I've paid enough in past s*** therapies to know that talk is not cheap...