Discourse processing and development through the adult lifespan

Elizabeth A.L. Stine-Morrow, Gabriel A. Radvansky

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Participation in the discourse world in its varied forms (e.g., reading a novel or newspaper, watching a movie, or engaging in conversation) is essential to effective functioning throughout the adult lifespan. Adult development is characterized by multidimensional change in cognition, encompassing both gain and loss (Baltes, 1987; Linderberger, 2014), which can impact the way in which language and discourse are processed (Radvansky & Dijkstra, 2007; Stine-Morrow, Miller, & Hertzog, 2006). The possibility that discourse understanding might be compromised with aging, or otherwise change in quality, is a practically important issue given the fact of population aging. It has been recognized for some time in the scholarly literature and popular press that increased life expectancy is contributing to a dramatic increase in the relative proportion of older adults (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division, 2013). While the percentage of the world’s population aged 60 and over was 12% in 2013 (up from 8% in 1950), the projection is that this will increase to 21% by 2050.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Discourse Processes, Second Edition
EditorsMichael F Schober, David N Rapp, Anne Britt
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781317417989
ISBN (Print)9781138920095
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences
  • General Psychology


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