Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling & Counseling Psychology

Committee Chair

Kimberly M Meigh

Committee Co-Chair

Michelle W Moore

Committee Member

Dennis M Ruscello


Purpose: This study evaluated the influence of phonemic similarity as a variable that facilitates contextual interference (CI), a motor learning phenomenon where poor performance during training results in enhanced performance in transfer conditions. A CI effect was hypothesized: speech performance would be enhanced for nonwords with similar phonemes during the retention phase of motor learning, but only enhanced by nonwords with dissimilar phonemes in the transfer phase.;Method: Twenty-nine young adults with typical speech and hearing participated in a motor-learning study comprised of nonword repetition training followed by an immediate retention and transfer task for nonwords with similar and dissimilar phonemes. Training was counterbalanced by stimuli and participants using a within-subject repeated-measures design. Percent consonants correct was calculated to examine the effects of the different stimuli on stage of skill acquisition.;Results: A CI effect was observed in this study using nonwords that varied in phonemic similarity. Participants accuracy was greatest when producing nonwords with similar phonemes during the retention task; however, during the transfer task, accuracy was greatest when producing nonwords with dissimilar phonemes.;Conclusions: The proposed hypothesis for this study was met: practicing nonwords with dissimilar phonemes lead to greater accuracy in the transfer phase of this experiment. Results indicate phonemic dissimilarity produces a contextual interference and influencing speech motor learning. Future research should determine if these results generalize to other populations, including children with typically developing language and speech skills.