We investigated whether an age-related deficit occurs for pronoun-reference resolution. Young (ages 19-31) and older (ages 60-74) adults read stories varying in length and selected the antecedent noun for sentences that contained information that was expected, neutral, or unexpected with respect to prior knowledge. The qualitative factor (Expectedness) produced an age-related effect for accuracy of noun choice but the quantitative factor (Memory Load or the distance between noun and pronoun) was equivalent for all subjects. Additionally, older adults took longer to read the text than the young, although there was no interaction with age. It is argued that expectedness of information may be more relevant for pronoun-reference processing rather than memory load alone in older adult readers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology