Research Article
Volume 12 Issue 6 - 2020
Working Memory in Older Adults. Processing of Complex Syntactic Structures in Speakers of Rioplatense Spanish
Horacio Dotti*
Faculty of Humanities and Sciences, Universidad Nacional del Litoral, and Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities, Universidad Católica de Santa Fe Santa Fe, Argentina
*Corresponding Author: Faculty of Humanities and Sciences, Universidad Nacional del Litoral, and Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities, Universidad Católica de Santa Fe Santa Fe, Argentina.
Received: April 19, 2020; Published: May 15, 2020


Fifty-four adults (27 over 60 and 27 young people) were exposed to complex sentences with temporal syntactic ambiguity in an online self-administered reading time task. Chronometric measures of reading times were taken and the degree of understanding of yes-no questions related to stimulus sentences was assessed. In addition, in order to assess whether older adults are sensitive to factors that may alter the demand for memory resources required for orational processing during reading, frequency of use, size and shape of words present in stimulus sentences were monitored, among other things. Older adults had lower working memory scores than young people in standardized tests conducted prior to the experiment. The hypothesis was that a decrease in overall working memory capabilities in older adults does not affect the level of syntactic processing. The results indicated that there were no significant group differences in reading times, although the older ones were less accurate in the yes-no questions. These results suggest that the memory resources needed to extract the orational meaning are preserved in the majors and that they were also sensitive to factors that reduce the processing cost. In the meantime, resources required to make use of these orational meanings, such as answering yesno questions, would be affected by the ageing factor, but not exclusively. In sum, in line with current assumptions about the structure of working memory, the results point to the existence of highly specialized internal modules, one specific responsible for syntactic computation, and another linked to lexical-semantic information whose functioning becomes unstable over time.

Keywords: Working Memory; Processing; Older Adults; Syntactic Ambiguity; Modularity


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Citation: Horacio Dotti. “Working Memory in Older Adults. Processing of Complex Syntactic Structures in Speakers of Rioplatense Spanish”. EC Neurology 12.6 (2020): 44-58.

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