Age Differences in Perceptual Processing and Memory for Spoken Language

  • Arthur Wingfield
  • Elizabeth A. L. Stine


Successful memory depends in large measure on the quality of initial stimulus encoding. It is for this reason that the cognitive aging literature has looked to age-related differences in acquisition processes and internal organization as important sources of decreased memory performance in normal aging (Rankin, Karol, & Tuten, 1984; Smith, 1980). These effects have in turn been attributed to presumed differences in working memory or general processing capacity (Craik & McDowd, 1987; Stine & Wing- field, 1987) and to age-sensitive declines in the rate at which new information can be processed (Salthouse, 1985). Less attention has been given to the distinction between cognitive “capacity” versus cognitive “effort” in memory aging, but we predict this to change in future years (cf. Mitchell & Hunt, 1989).


Target Word Word Recognition Lexical Decision Elderly Subject Perceptual Processing 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Baddeley, A.D. (1981). The concept of working memory: A view of its current state and probably future developments. Cognition, 10, 17–27.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Belmore, S. (1981) Age-related changes in processing explicit and implicit language. Journal of Gerontology, 36, 316–322.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Breedin, S.D., amp; Martin, R.C. (1989, October). Evidence for speech-specific processors. Paper presented at the 27th annual meeting of the Academy of Aphasia. Santa Fe, NM.Google Scholar
  4. Burke, D.M., White, H., amp; Diaz, D.L. (1987). Semantic priming in younger and older adults: Evidence for age constancy in automatic and attentional processes. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 13, 79–88.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Caplan, D., Vanier, M., amp; Baker, C. (1986). A case study of reproduction aphasia: 2. Sentence comprehension. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 3, 129–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Caporael, L.R., amp; Culbertson, G.H. (1986). Verbal response modes of baby talk and other speech at institutions for the aged. Language and Communication, 6, 99–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Charness, N. (1989). Age and expertise: Responding to Talland’s challenge. In L.W. Poon, D.C. Rubin, amp; B.A. Wilson (Eds.), Everyday cognition in adulthood and late life (pp. 437–456 ). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Chomsky, N. (1981). Lectures on government and binding. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Foris.Google Scholar
  9. Cohen, G. (1979). Language comprehension in old age. Cognitive Psychology, 11, 412–429.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cohen, G. (1981). Inferential reasoning in old age. Cognition, 9, 59–72.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cohen, G., amp; Faulkner, D. (1983). Word recognition: Age differences in contextual facilitation effects. British Journal of Psychology, 74, 239–251.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cohen, G., amp; Faulkner, D. (1986). Does ‘Elderspeak’ work? The effect of intonation and stress on comprehension and recall of spoken discourse in old age. Language and Communication, 6, 91–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cooper, W.E., amp; Sorensen, J. (1981). Fundamental frequency in sentence production. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Craik, F.I.M., amp; McDowd, J.M. (1987). Age differences in recall and recognition. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 13, 474–479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Daneman, M., amp; Carpenter, P.A. (1980). Individual differences in working memory and reading. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 19, 450–466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Flores D’Arcais, G.B., amp; Scheuder, R. (1983). The process of language understanding: A few issues in contemporary psycholinguistics. In G.B. Flores D’Arcais amp; K.J. Jarvella (Eds.), The process of language understanding (pp. 1–41 ). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  17. Fodor, J. A. (1983). Modularity of mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  18. Foulke, E. (1971). The perception of time compressed speech. In D.L. Horton amp; J.J. Jenkins (Eds.), The perception of language (pp. 79–107 ). Columbus, OH: Merrill.Google Scholar
  19. Grodzinsky, Y., amp; Shapiro, L.P. (1988). Two perspectives on the modularity of language. Aphasiology, 2, 295–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Geers, A.E. (1978). Intonation contour and syntactic structure as predictors of apparent segmentation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 4, 273–283.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Grosjean, F. (1980). Spoken word recognition processes and the gating paradigm. Perception and Psychophysics, 28, 299–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Grosjean, F. (1983). How long is the sentence? Prediction and prosody in the online processing of language. Linguistics, 21, 501–529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Grosjean, F. (1985). The recognition of words after their acoustic offset: evidence and implications. Perception and Psychophysics, 38, 299–310.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Haviland, S.E., amp; Clark, H.H. (1974). What’s new? Acquiring new information as a comprehension process. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 3, 512–521.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hess, T.M., amp; Arnold, D. (1986). Adult age differences in memory for explicit and implicit sentence information. Journal of Gerontology, 41, 191–194.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Howard, D.V., Shaw, R.J., amp; Heisey, J.G. (1986). Aging and the time course of semantic activation. Journal of Gerontology, 41, 195–203.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hultsch, D., amp; Dixon, R.A. (1984). Memory for text materials in adulthood. Life span development and behavior (Vol. 6 ). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  28. Hultsch, D., amp; Dixon, R.A. (1990). Learning and memory and aging. In J.E. Birren amp; K.W. Schaie (Eds.), Handbook of the psychology of aging ( 3rd ed., pp. 258–274 ). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  29. Hutchinson, K.M. (1989). Influence of sentence context on speech perception in young and older adults. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 44, P36–44.Google Scholar
  30. Kinsbourne, M. (1973). Age effects on letter span related to rate and sequential dependency. Journal of Gerontology, 28, 317–319.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kintsch, W. (1974). The representation of meaning in memory. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  32. Kintsch, W. (1988). The role of knowledge in discourse comprehension: A construction-integration model. Psychological Review, 95, 163–182.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kintsch, W., amp; Keenan, J. (1973). Reading rate and retention as a function of the number of propositions in the base structure of sentences. Cognitive Psychology, 5, 257–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Leske, M.C. (1981). Prevalence estimates of communicative disorders in the U.S.: Language, hearing, and vestibular disorders. Asha, 23, 229–237.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Liberman, A.M. (1982). On finding that speech is special. American Psychologist, 37, 148–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Liberman, A.M., amp; Mattingly, I.G. (1989). A specialization for speech perception. Science, 243, 489–494.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Light, L.L., amp; Anderson, P.A. (1985). Working-memory capacity, age, and memory for discourse. Journal of Gerontology, 40, 737–747.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Madden, D.J. (1988). Adult age differences in the effects of sentence context and stimulus degradation during visual word recognition. Psychology and Aging, 3, 167–172.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Marcus, S.M. (1984). Recognizing speech: On mapping of sound to word. In H. Bouma amp; D.G. Bouwhuis (Eds.), Attention and performance X (pp. 151–163 ). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  40. Marslen-Wilson, W.D. (1984). Function and process in spoken word recognition. In H. Bouma amp; D.G. Bouwhuis (Eds.), Attention and performance X (pp. 125–150 ). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  41. Marslen-Wilson, W.D. (1987). Functional parallelism in spoken word recognition. Cognition, 25, 71–102.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Marslen-Wilson, W.D., amp; Tyler, L.K. (1980). The temporal structure of spoken language understanding. Cognition, 8, 1–71.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Martin, R.C. (1987). Articulatory and phonological deficits in short-term memory and their relation to syntactic processing. Brain and Language, 32, 159–192.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. McKoon, G., amp; Ratcliff, R. (1986). Inferences about predictable events. Journal of Experimental Psychology; Learning, Memory and Cognition, 12, 82–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Meyer, B.J.F., amp; Rice, G.E. (1981). Information recalled from prose by young, middle, and old adult readers. Experimental Aging Research, 7, 253–268.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Miller, J.L., Grosjean, F., amp; Lomanto, C. (1984). Articulation rate and its variability in spontaneous speech: A reanalysis and some implications. Phonetica, 41, 215–225.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Mitchell, D.B., amp; Hunt, R.R. (1989). How much “effort” should be devoted to memory? Memory and Cognition, 17, 337–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Morton, J. (1964). The effects of context on the visual duration threshold for words. British Journal of Psychology, 55, 165–180.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Olsho, L.W., Harkins, S.W., amp; Lenhardt, M.L. (1985). Aging and the auditory system. In J.E. Birren amp; K.W. Schaie (Eds.), Handbook of the psychology of aging ( 2nd ed., pp. 332–377 ). New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.Google Scholar
  50. Prince, A., amp; Pinker, S. (1988). Rules and connections in human language. Trends in Neuroscience, 11, 195–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Rankin, J.L., Karol, R., amp; Tuten, C. (1984). Strategy use, recall, and recall organization in young, middle-aged, and elderly adults. Experimental Aging Research, 10, 193–196.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Reder, L.M. (1982). Plausibility judgments vs. fact retrieval: Alternative strategies for sentence verification. Psychological Review, 89, 250–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Rieger. C. (1977). Spontaneous computation in cognitive models. Cognitive Science, 1, 315–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Ryan, E.B., Giles, H., Bartolucci, G., amp; Henwood, K. (1986). Psycholinguistic and social psychological components of communication by and with the elderly. Language and Communication, 6, 1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Salthouse, T.A. (1985). A theory of cognitive aging. Amsterdam: North Holland.Google Scholar
  56. Smith, A.D. (1980). Age differences in encoding, storage, and retrieval. In L.W. Poon, J.L. Fozard, L.S. Cermak, D. Arenberg, amp; L.W. Thompson (Eds.), New directions in memory and aging: Proceedings of the George A. Talland Memorial Conference (pp. 23–45 ). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  57. Stern, C., Prather, P., Swinney, D., amp; Zurif, E.B. (1991). The time course of automatic lexical access and aging. Brain and Language, 40, 359–372.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Stine, E.A.L. (1990). On-line processing of written text by younger and older adults. Psychology and Aging, 5, 68–78.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Stine, E.A.L., amp; Wingfield, A. (1987). Process and strategy in memory for speech among younger and older adults. Psychology and Aging, 2, 272–279.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Stine, E.A.L., Wingfield, A., amp; Poon, L.W. (1986). How much and how fast: rapid processing of spoken language by older adults. Psychology and Aging, 86, 303–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Stine, E.A.L., Wingfield, A., amp; Poon, L.W. (1989). Speech comprehension and memory through adulthood: The roles of time and strategy. In L.W. Poon, D.C. Rubin, amp; B. A. Wilson (Eds.), Everyday cognition in adulthood and late life (pp. 195–221 ). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  62. Swinney, D., amp; Osterhout, L. (1990). Inference generation during auditory language comprehension. In A. Graesser amp; G.H. Bower (Eds.), The psychology of learning and motivation (Vol. 25, pp. 294–306). Academic Press.Google Scholar
  63. Till, R., Mross, E.F., amp; Kintsch, W. (1988). Time course of priming for associate and inference words in discourse content. Memory and Cognition, 16, 283–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Tun, P.A. (1989). Age differences in processing expository and narrative text. Journal of Gerontology, 44, 9–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Tyler, L. (1984). The structure of the initial cohort: evidence from gating. Perception and Psychophysics, 36, 417–427.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Tyler, L., amp; Wessels, J. (1983). Quantifying contextual contributions to word-recognition processes. Perception and Psychophysics, 34, 409–420.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment ( 1986, May). Hearing impairment and elderly people—A background paper (OTA-BP-BA-30). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  68. van Dijk, T.A., amp; Kintsch, W.A. (1983). Strategies of discourse comprehension. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  69. Wales, R., amp; Toner, H. (1979). Intonation and ambiguity. In W.E. Cooper amp; E.C.T. Walker (Eds.), Sentence processing: Psycholinguistics studies presented to Merrill Garrett (pp. 135–158 ). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  70. Wayland, S.C., Wingfield, A., amp; Goodglass, H. (1989). Recognition of isolated words: The dynamics of cohort reduction. Applied Psycholinguistics, 10, 475–487.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Wingfield, A. (1975). Acoustic redundancy and the perception of time compressed speech. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 18, 96–104.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  72. Wingfield, A., Aberdeen, J.S., amp; Stine, E.A.L. (1991). Word-onset gating and linguistic context in spoken word recognition by young and elderly adults. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 46, P127–129.Google Scholar
  73. Wingfield, A., amp; Butterworth, B. (1984). Running memory for sentences and parts of sentences: Syntactic parsing as a control function in working memory. In H. Bouma amp; D.G. Bouwhuis (Eds.), Attention and performance X (pp. 351–363 ). Hillsdale NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  74. Wingfield, A., amp; Klein, J.F. (1971). Syntactic structure and acoustic pattern in speech perception. Perception and Psychophysics, 9, 23–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Wingfield, A., Lahar, C.J., amp; Stine, E.A.L. (1989). Age and decision strategies in running memory for speech: Effects of prosody and linguistic structure. Journal of Gerontology; Psychological Sciences, 44, P106–113.Google Scholar
  76. Wingfield, A., amp; Nolan, K.A. (1980). Spontaneous segmentation in normal and in time-compressed speech. Perception and Psychophysics, 28, 97–102.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Wingfield, A., Poon, L.W., Lombardi, L., amp; Lowe, D. (1985). Speed of processing in normal aging: Effects of speech rate, linguistic structure, and processing time. Journal of Gerontology, 40, 579–585.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Wingfield, A., amp; Stine, E.A.L. (1986). Organizational strategies in immediate recall of rapid speech by young and elderly adults. Experimental aging research, 12, 79–83.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Wingfield, A., amp; Stine, E.A.L. (1989). Modeling memory processes: Research and theory on memory and aging. In G.C. Gilmore, P.J. Whitehouse, amp; M.L. Wykle (Eds.), Memory, aging, and dementia: Theory, assessment, and treatment (pp. 4–40 ). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  80. Wingfield, A., amp; Stine, E.A.L. (1991). Expert systems in nature: Spoken language processing and adult aging. In J.D. Sinnott, amp; J.C. Cavanaugh (Eds.), Bridging paradigms: Positive cognitive development in adulthood and aging (pp. 237–258 ). New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
  81. Wingfield, A., Stine, E.A.L., Lahar, C.J., amp; Aberdeen, J.S. (1988). Does the capacity of working memory change with age? Experimental Aging Research, 14, 193–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Zelinski, E.M. (1988). Integration of information from discourse: Do older adults show deficits? In L.L. Light amp; D.M. Burke (Eds.), Language, memory, and aging (pp. 117–132 ). New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arthur Wingfield
  • Elizabeth A. L. Stine

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations