Age differences in on-line syntactic processing

Elizabeth Stine-Morrow, Sharon Ryan, J. Sandra Leonard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reading time and comprehension for subject-relative (e.g., The pilot that admired the nurse dominated the conversation) and object-relative (e.g., The pilot that the nurse admired dominated the conversation) constructions were compared among younger and older readers. Younger adults, but not older adults, differentially allocated time to the more taxing object-relative constructions. Although there were no age differences in comprehension of subject-relative constructions, older adults demonstrated lower levels of comprehension for object-relative sentences. Inconsistent with a modularity view positing preservation in 'interpretive' processes with age, these results suggest that age-related differences in working-memory capacity limit responsiveness to text demands, thus compromising sentence comprehension.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-322
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Aging Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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