When more is less: Failure to compress discourse with re-telling in normal ageing

Lauren Saling, Natasha Laroo, Michael M. Saling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


When young adults tell the same story repeatedly, their narratives become progressively more concise. Although impaired discourse production has been reliably demonstrated in the elderly, changes in narrative production with repetition have not been investigated in this cohort. Thirty young (aged 18'49 years, M = 28.77, SD = 9.73) and thirty elderly (aged 65 + years, M = 73.57, SD = 6.80) adults completed a discourse production task involving narrative construction using an eight-frame cartoon. Narratives were repeated 4 consecutive times. Variables analysed were narrative duration, word count and fluency (words/sec). For all variables the compression index for the elderly group was significantly lower than that for young participants. Further, compared to their younger counterparts, elderly adults were less able to improve the cohesion of their narratives with repetition. These findings suggest that the elderly have a reduced capacity to generate and refine discourse representations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-224
Number of pages5
JournalActa Psychologica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012


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