Age-Related Differences in Communication and Audience Design

William S. Horton*, Daniel H. Spieler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article reports an experiment examining the extent to which younger and older speakers engage in audience design, the process of adapting one's speech for particular addressees. Through an initial card-matching task, pairs of younger adults and pairs of older adults established common ground for sets of picture cards. Subsequently, the same individuals worked separately on a computer-based picture-description task that involved a novel partner-cuing paradigm. Younger speakers' descriptions to the familiar partner were shorter and were initiated more quickly than were descriptions to an unfamiliar partner. In addition, younger speakers' descriptions to the familiar partner exhibited a higher proportion of lexical overlap with previous descriptions than did descriptions to an unfamiliar partner. Older speakers showed no equivalent evidence for audience design, which may reflect difficulties with retrieving partner-specific information from memory during conversation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-290
Number of pages10
JournalPsychology and Aging
Volume22
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2007

Keywords

  • aging
  • audience design
  • conversation
  • language production
  • memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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