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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Geriatrics and Gerontology