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Psychol Aging. 1991 Mar;6(1):3-9.

Speech-processing capacity in young and older adults: a dual-task study.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts 02254-9110.


Adult age differences in processing speech were examined with a dual-task paradigm. Subjects listened to spoken passages for later recall while performing a concurrent reaction time task intended to index cognitive capacity usage on the speech memory task. Age differences in secondary task decision latencies were eliminated when subgroups of young and older subjects were matched on working memory span. These findings are interpreted as showing that an age-related reduction in working memory efficiency contributes to age differences in processing discourse for memory.

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