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J Gerontol. 1985 Sep;40(5):579-85.

Speed of processing in normal aging: effects of speech rate, linguistic structure, and processing time.


Young and elderly adults heard three types of speech materials varying in both length and degree of semantic and syntactic constraints. Time compression was used to vary speech rates systematically to test a speed of processing hypothesis as one explanation of performance deficits associated with normal aging. In addition to segment length effects, the elderly participants showed significantly steeper rates of performance decline with increasing speech rate, with slope constants dependent on the structural constraints of the speech materials. The results are discussed in terms of processing rate hypotheses and context utilization.

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