Written language comprehension in younger and older adults

Joyce L. Harris, Wendy A. Rogers, Constance D. Qualls

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined the effects of text genre and repeated reading on written language comprehension in younger (M = 21 years) and older (M = 72 years) healthy adults (N = 54). Participants verified four text-based statements (i.e., explicit, implicit, contradictory, and elaborated) after reading expository, narrative, and procedural texts. Verification accuracy was comparable for both age groups; however, text genre, statement-type, and repeated reading produced significant effects. Expositary passages, explicit and implicit statements, and repeated reading yielded superior results. Procedural passages and contradictory and elaborated statements yielded less accurate results. Statement-types invoked multiple levels of cognitive representation across text genres and age groups. Overall, reading time was significantly foster for younger adults, and reading times were significantly faster for bath age groups during the repeated reading trial. Text genre also influenced reading time, with expositor/passages read faster than narrative and procedural passages. These findings suggest the appreciable influences of text genre and repeated reading on measures of text processing and comprehension in healthy adults, irrespective of age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)603-617
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Cognitive representation
  • Reading time
  • Text genre
  • Written language comprehension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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