Do the Elderly Get the Message? A Comparative Study of Stories Produced Verbally and as a Text Message

Lauren Saling, Anthony Willis, Michael M Saling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

When young adults re-tell a story, they naturally produce more concise but sufficiently informative narratives. The repeated narratives of elderly adults, on the other hand, tend towards prolixity. In the present study, participants were explicitly instructed to re-tell a story in a more succinct (but informative format) to investigate whether they were able to produce informative narratives in a compressed format. 30 younger adults (Mean age=30.13,SD=9.27) and 30 older adults (Mean age=68.43,SD=8.88) constructed a verbal narrative from a series of cartoon frames depicting a story about a cowboy and his horse. Participants then re-told this narrative as a text message. The second narrative produced by the older adult sample did on average contain fewer words, but at the expense of informative content and discourse cohesion. The tendency of older adults to produce longer narratives with re-telling is not merely reflective of a strategic choice but rather reflects a genuine macrolinguistic deficit.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1419-1425
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Psycholinguistic Research
Volume45
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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