No evidence for strategic nature of age-related slowing in sentence processing
Older adults demonstrate a slower speed of linguistic processing, including sentence
processing. In non-linguistic cognitive domains such as memory, research suggests that age-
related slowing of processing speed may be a strategy adopted in order to avoid potential
error and/or to spare “cognitive resources". So far, very few studies have tested whether older
adults’ slower processing speed in the linguistic domain has a strategic nature as well. To fill
this gap, we tested whether older adults can maintain language processing accuracy when a
faster processing speed is enforced externally. Specifically, we compared sentence
comprehension accuracy in younger and older adults when sentences were presented at the
participant’s median self-paced reading speed versus twice as fast. We hypothesized that an
external speed increase will cause a smaller accuracy decline in older than younger adults
because older adults tend to adopt self-paced processing speeds “further away” from their
performance limits. The hypothesis was not confirmed: the decline in accuracy due to faster
presentation did not differ by age group. Thus, we found no evidence for strategic nature of
age-related slowing of sentence processing. Based on our experimental design, we suggest
that the age-related slowing of sentence processing is caused not only by motor slowdown,
but also by a slowdown in cognitive processing.
The approaches to the understanding of successful and sustainable development of the society are changing before our eyes. The focus shifts from the economic indicators showing the welfare of the state, to measuring of the subjective indicators of happiness that reflect the individual's subjective well-being. The paper analyzes the level of life satisfaction according to age in different societies. The relationship between the degree of development of inclusive institutions and the satisfaction with life is revealed.
Background: Agrammatic speakers have problems with grammatical encoding and decoding. However, not all syntactic processes are equally problematic: present time reference, who questions, and reflexives can be processed by narrow syntax alone and are relatively spared compared to past time reference, which questions, and personal pronouns, respectively. The latter need additional access to discourse and information structures to link to their referent outside the clause (Avrutin, 2006). Linguistic processing that requires discourse linking is difficult for agrammatic individuals: verb morphology with reference to the past is more difficult than with reference to the present (Bastiaanse et al., 2011). The same holds for which questions compared to who questions and for pronouns compared to reflexives (Avrutin, 2006). These results have been reported independently for different populations in different languages. The current study, for the first time, tested all conditions within the same population.
Aims: We had two aims with the current study. Firstly, we wanted to investigate whether discourse linking is the common denominator of the deficits in time reference, wh-questions, and object pronouns. Secondly, we aimed to compare the comprehension of discourse-linked elements in people with agrammatic and fluent aphasia, to define the degree of the discourse linking deficit specificity.
Methods & Procedures: Three sentence-picture-matching tasks were administered to 10 agrammatic, 10 fluent aphasic, and 10 non-brain-damaged Russian speakers (NBDs): (1) the Test for Assessing Reference of Time (TART) for present imperfect (reference to present) and past perfect (reference to past), (2) the Wh-Extraction Assessment Tool (WHEAT) for which and who subject questions, and (3) the Reflexive-Pronoun Test (RePro) for reflexive and pronominal reference.
Outcomes & Results: NBDs scored at ceiling and significantly higher than the aphasic participants. We found an overall effect of discourse linking in the TART and WHEAT for the agrammatic speakers, and in all three tests for the fluent speakers. Scores on the RePro were at ceiling.
Conclusions: The problems that individuals with agrammatic and fluent aphasia experience when comprehending sentences that contain verbs with past time reference, which question words and pronouns are caused by the fact that these elements need to involve operations at the discourse level. The effect is not specific to agrammatism, although might result from different underlying disorders in agrammatic and fluent aphasia.
This chapter deals with age and educational dimensions of the labour supply in Russia, and looks into two time periods covering 15 years in retrospect and the next 15 years in prospect. For our analysis we exploit the micro-census (2015) data and all labour force surveys (LFS) waves covering the retrospect. Using demographic projections we can forecast employment structure up to 2030. These two dimensions are directly associated with such challenges as aging and over-education of the labour force. If in the recent past age and education contributed to the economic growth, in the next 15 years their effect is likely to be less beneficial if not negative. This will pose a challenge to the prospective economic development through a number of channels. Russia is not unique here but seems to be more exposed than many others to both due to its demographic and educational developments.
Numerous studies have found a reduced speed of linguistic processing in older adults, particularly in sentence processing. However, it has been suggested that the reduction of processing speed in older adults is a strategy that they adopt for reasons of caution in order to avoid potential error and/or to conserve "cognitive resources". This hypothesis has been tested in the linguistic domain only once. To test the hypothesis about the strategic nature of slower sentence processing speed in older adults, our experiment address whether they have a greater tendency than younger adults to use a processing speed that is slower than their performance limits. Participants were presented with syntactically complex sentences word-by-word, first in a self-paced mode and then in two externally-paced sessions: (1) at their individual median speed from the self-paced session and (2) twice as fast. After each sentence, participants answered a comprehension question with two response options. We assumed that an external speed increase will cause a greater decrease in response accuracy in younger than older adults, because older adults tend to choose a self-paced sentence processing speed that is further away from their performance limits. However, in the current sample, the hypothesis was not confirmed. Thus, it seems that the slowdown of language processing in older age is a compensatory mechanism, inevitable and necessary to provide the same level of language processing as at a younger age.
Background: Comprehension of reversible sentences that have derived word order has often been reported as impaired in agrammatic aphasia. Most accounts of this phenomenon refer to the syntactic differences between derived and base word order of the arguments. However, it has been demonstrated that in agrammatic spontaneous speech in standard Indonesian (SI) passives are produced at a rate that is proportional to that of healthy speakers. The main difference between passives in SI and in other languages is the frequency with which passives are used: passives in SI are highly frequent. The high frequency can be explained by the fact that passives are used for politeness reasons, saliency of the passive morphology, earlier acquisition, and formal simplicity of the passive structure.
Aims: The purpose of the current study is to investigate comprehension of the passive as a derived structure in SI and the influence of frequency.
Methods & Procedures: A sentence-to-picture matching task was developed to test four reversible sentence types (active, passive, subject cleft and object cleft). There are three variables that are of interest, that is, word order, embedding and relative frequency of structures. Eleven agrammatic speakers classified as suffering from Broca’s aphasia were tested.
Outcomes & Results: The passive sentences were comprehended equally well as the active sentences. Embedding had limited effects: subject clefts were understood as well as actives and passives. Object clefts, however, were understood poorly and significantly worse than the three other sentence types.
Conclusions: The sentence comprehension deficit pattern shown in SI individuals with Broca’s aphasia introduces frequency of a syntactic structure as an additional factor to consider. Whether frequency or pragmatic constraints protects against erosion of the passive in Broca’s aphasia in SI remains an open question.
The paper is focused on the study of reaction of italian literature critics on the publication of the Boris Pasternak's novel "Doctor Jivago". The analysys of the book ""Doctor Jivago", Pasternak, 1958, Italy" (published in Russian language in "Reka vremen", 2012, in Moscow) is given. The papers of italian writers, critics and historians of literature, who reacted immediately upon the publication of the novel (A. Moravia, I. Calvino, F.Fortini, C. Cassola, C. Salinari ecc.) are studied and analised.
In the article the patterns of the realization of emotional utterances in dialogic and monologic speech are described. The author pays special attention to the characteristic features of the speech of a speaker feeling psychic tension and to the compositional-pragmatic peculiarities of dialogic and monologic text.