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Story Processing Ability in Cognitively Healthy Younger and Older Adults
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research (2011)
  • Heather Harris Wright, Arizona State University
  • Gilson J. Capilouto
  • Cidambi Srinivasan
  • Gerasimos Fergadiotis, Portland State University

Purpose The purpose of the study was to examine the relationships among measures of comprehension and production for stories depicted in wordless pictures books and measures of memory and attention for 2 age groups. Method Sixty cognitively healthy adults participated. They consisted of two groups—young adults (20–29 years of age) and older adults (70–89 years of age). Participants completed cognitive measures and several discourse tasks; these included telling stories depicted in wordless picture books and answering multiple-choice comprehension questions pertaining to the story. Results The 2 groups did not differ significantly for proportion of story propositions conveyed; however, the younger group performed significantly better on the comprehension measure as compared with the older group. Only the older group demonstrated a statistically significant relationship between the story measures. Performance on the production and comprehension measures significantly correlated with performance on the cognitive measures for the older group but not for the younger group. Conclusions The relationship between adults’ comprehension of stimuli used to elicit narrative production samples and their narrative productions differed across the life span, suggesting that discourse processing performance changes in healthy aging. Finally, the study’s findings suggest that memory and attention contribute to older adults’ story processing performance.

  • Cognitive psychology -- Research
Publication Date
Publisher Statement
Copyright (2011) American Speech-Language-Hearing Association *At the time of publication, Gerasimos Fergadiotis was affiliated with Arizona State University
Citation Information
Heather Harris Wright, Gilson J. Capilouto, Cidambi Srinivasan and Gerasimos Fergadiotis. "Story Processing Ability in Cognitively Healthy Younger and Older Adults" Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research Vol. 54 Iss. 3 (2011)
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