Article  |   June 2011
Story Processing Ability in Cognitively Healthy Younger and Older Adults
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Heather Harris Wright
    Arizona State University, Tempe AZ
    Arizona State University, Tempe AZ
  • Gilson J. Capilouto
    University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
    University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
  • Cidambi Srinivasan
    University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
    University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
  • Gerasimos Fergadiotis
    Arizona State University, Tempe AZ
    Arizona State University, Tempe AZ
  • Correspondence to Heather Harris Wright: heather.wright.1@asu.edu
  • Editor: Janna Oetting
    Editor: Janna Oetting×
  • Associate Editor: Swathi Kiran
    Associate Editor: Swathi Kiran×
Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language
Article   |   June 2011
Story Processing Ability in Cognitively Healthy Younger and Older Adults
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research June 2011, Vol.54, 900-917. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/09-0253)
History: Accepted 07 Oct 2010 , Received 23 Nov 2009 , Revised 12 Apr 2010
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research June 2011, Vol.54, 900-917. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/09-0253)
History: Accepted 07 Oct 2010 , Received 23 Nov 2009 , Revised 12 Apr 2010

Purpose: The purpose of the study was to examine the relationships among measures of comprehension and production for stories depicted in wordless pictures books and measures of memory and attention for 2 age groups.

Method: Sixty cognitively healthy adults participated. They consisted of two groups—young adults (20–29 years of age) and older adults (70–89 years of age). Participants completed cognitive measures and several discourse tasks; these included telling stories depicted in wordless picture books and answering multiple-choice comprehension questions pertaining to the story.

Results: The 2 groups did not differ significantly for proportion of story propositions conveyed; however, the younger group performed significantly better on the comprehension measure as compared with the older group. Only the older group demonstrated a statistically significant relationship between the story measures. Performance on the production and comprehension measures significantly correlated with performance on the cognitive measures for the older group but not for the younger group.

Conclusions: The relationship between adults' comprehension of stimuli used to elicit narrative production samples and their narrative productions differed across the life span, suggesting that discourse processing performance changes in healthy aging. Finally, the study’s findings suggest that memory and attention contribute to older adults' story processing performance.

Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access

Related Articles

Discourse Comprehension Test Performance of Elders With Dementia of the Alzheimer Type
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research December 2002, Vol.45, 1175-1187. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2002/095)
Comprehension of Spoken Narrative Discourse by Adults With Aphasia, Right-Hemisphere Brain Damage, or Traumatic Brain Injury
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology August 1995, Vol.4, 69-81. doi:10.1044/1058-0360.0403.69
Clinical Relevance of Discourse Characteristics After Right Hemisphere Brain Damage
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology August 2006, Vol.15, 255-267. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2006/024)
Coordinator’s Column
SIG 7 Perspectives on Aural Rehabilitation and Its Instrumentation October 2010, Vol.17, 2-3. doi:10.1044/arii17.1.2
Introduction to the AJA Research Forum on Intervention and Rehabilitation Strategies for Adults and Older Adults
American Journal of Audiology December 2013, Vol.22, 321-322. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2013/13-0004)