Visual word identification and age-related slowing
Two experiments investigated adult age differences in the time course of sentence-context priming effects. In each experiment, subjects performed a word/ nonword discrimination (i.e., lexical decision) regarding a target letter string that followed a sentence context. The benefit component of the priming effect was similar in magnitude for young and older adults, and no age differences were introduced by variations in either the interval between the context and the target or the presentation rate of the context. There was consequently no evidence for age-related slowing of semantic activation processes. Regression analyses were performed on the present data combined with the results of two previous studies. These analyses supported one version of a generalized slowing model, in which age differences are determined primarily by task complexity, but did not support a stronger version of the model, in which a slowing of word identification would be reliably related to chronological age. © 1989.
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