Age Differences in Creating Spatial Models from Narratives

Daniel Morrow, Von Leirer, Patsy Altieri, Colleen Fitzsimmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examined how ageing influences the process of creating spatial models from narratives. After memorising the diagram of a building layout, subjects read narratives that took place in the building. Accessibility of spatial information from the model was probed by interrupting the narrative with an object name and a direction name (e.g. table right). The subjects responded true if the object was in the named direction from the character’s current location. Probed objects were in the same room as the character (location room), in a near room, or a far room. Objects were also to the left/ right or ahead/behind the character. Older subjects needed more trials to learn the building and also answered the probes more slowly and less accurately. Both age groups answered location room probes more quickly than the other probes, suggesting that older and younger readers focused on the character when creating the model. However, age differences in response time were greater for true probes about distant objects than for location room probes, suggesting that older readers shifted focus of attention more slowly as they updated their spatial model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-220
Number of pages18
JournalLanguage and Cognitive Processes
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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