Stuttered and fluent speech production: An ALE meta-analysis of functional neuroimaging studies

Steven Brown, Roger J. Ingham, Janis C. Ingham, Angela R. Laird, Peter T. Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

292 Scopus citations


This study reports an activation likelihood estimation (ALE) meta-analysis of imaging studies of chronic developmental stuttering in adults. Two parallel meta-analyses were carried out: (1) stuttered production in the stutterers; (2) fluent production in the control subjects. The control subjects' data replicated previous analyses of single-word reading, identifying activation in primary motor cortex, premotor cortex, supplementary motor area, Rolandic operculum, lateral cerebellum, and auditory areas, among others. The stuttering subjects' analysis showed that similar brain areas are involved in stuttered speech as in fluent speech, but with some important differences. Motor areas were over-activated in stuttering, including primary motor cortex, supplementary motor area, cingulate motor area, and cerebellar vermis. Frontal operculum, Rolandic operculum, and anterior insula showed anomalous right-laterality in stutterers. Auditory activations, due to hearing one's own speech, were essentially undetectable in stutterers. The phenomenon of efference copy is proposed as a unifying account of the pattern activation revealed within this ALE meta-analysis. This provides the basis for a stuttering system model that is testable and should help to advance the understanding and treatment of this disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-117
Number of pages13
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2005


  • ALE
  • Brain imaging
  • Developmental stuttering
  • Efference copy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Anatomy


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