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Psychol Aging. 2001 Jun;16(2):227-39.

Language decline across the life span: findings from the Nun Study.

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1
Gerontology Center, University of Kansas, Lawrence 66045, USA. skemper@ukans.edu

Abstract

The present study examines language samples from the Nun Study. Measures of grammatical complexity and idea density were obtained from autobiographies written over a 60-year span. Participants who had met criteria for dementia were contrasted with those who did not. Grammatical complexity initially averaged 4.78 (on a 0-to-7-point scale) for participants who did not meet criteria for dementia and declined .04 units per year; grammatical complexity for participants who met criteria for dementia initially averaged 3.86 and declined .03 units per year. Idea density averaged 5.35 propositions per 10 words initially for participants who did not meet criteria for dementia and declined an average of .03 units per year, whereas idea density averaged 4.34 propositions per 10 words initially for participants who met criteria for dementia and declined .02 units per year. Adult experiences, in general, did not moderate these declines.

PMID:
11405311
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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