Lipreading, Processing Speed, and Working Memory in Younger and Older Adults PurposeTo examine several cognitive and perceptual abilities—including working memory (WM), information processing speed (PS), perceptual closure, and perceptual disembedding skill—as factors contributing to individual differences in lipreading performance and to examine how patterns in predictor variables change across age groups.MethodForty-three younger adults (mean age = 20.8 years, SD = 2.4) ... Article
Article  |   December 01, 2009
Lipreading, Processing Speed, and Working Memory in Younger and Older Adults
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Julia E. Feld
    Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Mitchell S. Sommers
    Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Contact author: Julia E. Feld, Washington University in St. Louis, Psychology Department, Campus Box 1125, St. Louis, MO 63130. E-mail: juliafeld5@gmail.com.
Article Information
Audiologic / Aural Rehabilitation / Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech
Article   |   December 01, 2009
Lipreading, Processing Speed, and Working Memory in Younger and Older Adults
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2009, Vol. 52, 1555-1565. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0137)
History: Received July 8, 2008 , Accepted February 6, 2009
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 2009, Vol. 52, 1555-1565. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/08-0137)
History: Received July 8, 2008; Accepted February 6, 2009
Web of Science® Times Cited: 21

PurposeTo examine several cognitive and perceptual abilities—including working memory (WM), information processing speed (PS), perceptual closure, and perceptual disembedding skill—as factors contributing to individual differences in lipreading performance and to examine how patterns in predictor variables change across age groups.

MethodForty-three younger adults (mean age = 20.8 years, SD = 2.4) and 38 older adults (mean age = 76.8 years, SD = 5.6) completed tasks measuring lipreading ability, verbal WM, spatial WM (SWM), PS, and perceptual abilities.

ResultsYounger adults demonstrated superior lipreading ability and perceptual skills compared with older adults. In addition, younger participants exhibited longer WM spans and faster PS than did the older participants. SWM and PS accounted for a significant proportion of the variance in lipreading ability in both younger and older adults, and the pattern of predictor variables remained consistent over age groups.

ConclusionsThese findings suggest that the large individual variability in lipreading ability can be explained, in part, by individual differences in SWM and PS. Furthermore, as both of these abilities are known to decline with age, the findings suggest that age-related impairments in either or both of these abilities may account for the poorer lipreading ability of older compared with younger adults.

Acknowledgments
Portions of these data were presented at the 48th annual meeting of the Psychonomics Society on November 15, 2007, in Long Beach, California, and at the Cognitive Aging Conference on April 12, 2008, in Atlanta, Georgia. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Gustavus and Louise Pfeiffer Foundation and National Institutes of Health Grant AG 022448. We thank Anna Dinndorf and Rachel Wilkinson for their assistance in data collection.
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