Adult age differences in letter-level and word-level processing.
Older and young adults' letter detection and lexical decision performance were examined as word frequency varied to determine whether there were age differences in word recognition. Allen and Madden (1989) found that older adults' pattern of reaction time (RT) across word frequency categories was different from young adults' pattern for a letter detection task. In this study, for both letter detection and lexical decision tasks, older adults exhibited a monotonically decreasing RT function as word frequency increased. However, young adults exhibited a nonmonotonic RT function across word frequency for the letter detection task but a monotonically decreasing RT function as word frequency increased for the lexical decision task. An expanded parallel input serial analysis model of word processing was hypothesized.
Allen, PA; Madden, DJ; Crozier, LC
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