Adult age differences in the effects of goals on self-regulated sentence processing

Elizabeth A.L. Stine-Morrow, Matthew C. Shake, Joseph R. Miles, Soo Rim Noh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The authors examined age differences in adults' allocation of effort when reading text for either high levels of recall accuracy or high levels of efficiency. Participants read a series of sentences, making judgments of learning before recall. Older adults showed less sensitivity than the young to the accuracy goal in both reading time allocation and memory performance. Memory accuracy and differential allocation of effort to unlearned items were age equivalent, so age differences in goal adherence were not attributable to metacognitive factors. However, comparison with data from a control reading task without monitoring showed that learning gains among older adults across trial were reduced relative to those of the young by memory monitoring, suggesting that monitoring may be resource consuming for older learners. Age differences in the responsiveness to (information-acquisition) goals could be accounted for, in part, by independent contributions from working memory and memory self-efficacy. Our data suggest that both processing capacity ("what you have") and beliefs ("knowing you can do it") can contribute to individual differences in engaging resources ("what you do") to effectively learn novel content from text.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)790-803
Number of pages14
JournalPsychology and aging
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Age differences
  • Goals
  • Memory
  • Metacognition
  • Reading
  • Self-regulated learning
  • Sentence processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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