The authors sought to measure the effect of stuttering on eye-gaze in fluent speakers while viewing video presentations of typical speakers and people who stutter (PWS) speaking because eye-gaze behaviors provide indicators of emotion and communicative integrity. Participants spent significantly more time watching the eyes (e.g., maintaining eye-contact) when viewing people who do not stutter (PWNS) than PWS. They also spent significantly more time observing mouth regions of PWS. When watching the videos of PWS, participants spent significantly more time observing nose and mouth regions when speech was stuttered (PWS-S) than when the speech was fluent PWS-F). The authors reported the difference in eye gaze patterns across speaker-group was interpreted to indicate negative emotional responses to stuttering. Current findings align with previous research showing that stuttered speech elicits negative reactions from listeners. Specifically, stuttering behaviors avert gaze from the eyes. Gaze aversion is a clear sign of disrupted communication that is visible to PWS and may contribute to their negative reactions to their own stuttering.
Hudock, Daniel; Stuart, Andrew, Saltuklaroglu, Tim, Jianliang Zhang, Murray, Nicholas, Kalinowski, Joseph, and Altieri, Nicholas. (2015). Segmented Analysis of Eye Gaze Behaviors of Fluent and Stuttered Speech. Canadian Journal of Speech-Language Patholoogy & Audiology, 39, 134-145.