The Effects of Noun-Phrase Type and Parallel Function on Online Sentence Processing for Normal Elderly Adults

Ji Sun Lee, Jee Eun Sung
2015 Communication Sciences & Disorders  
Objectives: The purpose of the current study is to investigate age-related changes in online sentence processing abilities, when the noun-phrase (NPs) and parallel function of head nouns are systematically manipulated. Methods: A total of 60 individuals participated in this study (30 per age group). The study employed a self-paced reading paradigm to measure online reading times for various sentences. Yes/no questions were administered at the end of a sentence to measure offline abilities.
more » ... ine abilities. Results: Results from the offline questions revealed that the elderly group showed lower accuracy and slower response times (RTs) than the young group. Participants showed higher accuracy and faster RTs when the NPs were unmatched rather than matched, and for sentences with parallel rather than non-parallel functions. Although both groups showed faster RTs when the NPs were unmatched, the differences were larger in the elderly group. Results from the online reading times with head noun and verbs in the main sentences revealed that the elderly group showed longer reading times than the young group. Participants showed shorter reading times in sentences with parallel functions. And although both groups showed shorter reading times when the NPs were unmatched, the differences were larger in the elderly group. Conclusion: The results suggest that noun phrase types have greater effects on age-related decline in online sentence processing than the parallel function of head nouns. This is expected to help make a hierarchy of difficulty system for sentence comprehension which could be used for intervention with the elderly.
doi:10.12963/csd.15220 fatcat:bfeq27b4xvbb5cyv6rj3fawiie