Younger and older adults read and immediately recalled a set of sentences which varied in propositional density. Reading was self-paced and sentence reading time was measured. Older adults spent differentially more time reading the propositionally dense sentences, and although the overall recall performance of older adults was slightly poorer than that of younger adults, age differences were constant across propositional density. Consistent with the Slowing Hypothesis, an analysis of effective reading time (time spent per proposition recalled) demonstrated that older adults were spending proportionately more time to effectively encode the sentences. In addition, a relative memorability analysis (Stine & Wingfield, 1988, 1990a) suggested that the increase in propositional density did not particularly disrupt the organization of the text representation for older adults in this self-paced reading situation. This contrasts with earlier findings in a listening situation. These data provide support for the applicability of the Slowing Hypothesis to language processing, but also suggest that older adults are able to effectively allocate reading time to propositionally dense sentences in order to facilitate organizational processing.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Geriatrics and Gerontology
- Psychiatry and Mental health