Age-Based Perceptions of Language Performance Among Younger and Older Adults Journal Articles uri icon

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  • The present study tested differences between younger and older adults in self-perceptions and social perceptions of language performance. Sixty younger adults (M = 26.4 years) and 60 older adults (M = 72.9 years) completed the Language in Adulthood Questionnaire for themselves and then in terms of typical adults aged either 25 years or 75 years. As predicted, the younger respondents reported fewer problems with receptive and expressive aspects of conversational language performance than did their older counterparts. I terms of social perceptions, the two respondent groups expected individuals aged 25 to experience fewer problems with receptive and expressive language than individuals aged 75, except for two specially selected items for which the ratings predictably favored those aged 75 (i.e., telling enjoyable stories, sincere when talking). To provide perspective for these youth-oriented findings in the language domain, perceptions of conversational differences between adults of 25 and 75 were seen by both respondent groups to be less than age differences in memory and hearing. The study was designed and interpreted within a framework of multiple influences of language performance in later life that emphasizes cognitive, situational, and social psychological determinants.


  • Ryan, Ellen

publication date

  • August 1992