Age-related differences in multimodal recipient design: Younger, but not older adults, adapt speech and co-speech gestures to common ground
SourceLanguage, Cognition and Neuroscience, 34, 2, (2019), pp. 254-271
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC PL
Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging
Language, Cognition and Neuroscience
Subject110 000 Neurocognition of Language; Giving cognition a hand: Linking spatial cognition to linguistic expression in native and late signers and bimodal bilinguals; Language & Communication; Language in our hands: Acquisition of spatial language in deaf and hearing children; Multimodal language and communication; Psycholinguistics
Speakers can adapt their speech and co-speech gestures based on knowledge shared with an addressee (common ground-based recipient design). Here, we investigate whether these adaptations are modulated by the speaker's age and cognitive abilities. Younger and older participants narrated six short comic stories to a same-aged addressee. Half of each story was known to both participants, the other half only to the speaker. The two age groups did not differ in terms of the number of words and narrative events mentioned per narration, or in terms of gesture frequency, gesture rate, or percentage of events expressed multimodally. However, only the younger participants reduced the amount of verbal and gestural information when narrating mutually known as opposed to novel story content. Age-related differences in cognitive abilities did not predict these differences in common ground-based recipient design. The older participants' communicative behaviour may therefore also reflect differences in social or pragmatic goals.
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