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The effects of age and visual stimuli on narrative production Tsang, Clinton Yin Hang


Narrative production has been used as a tool for assessing and treating individuals with acquired language disorders as well as cognitive-linguistic deficits. Because individuals who sustained these conditions tend to be older adults, it is important to distinguish between the effects of normal aging versus the effects of these conditions on narrative production. Research has also suggested that both aging and the use of different visual materials may influence performance on narrative production tasks. This study was designed to investigate the effects of aging and the use of different visual stimuli, namely, picture sequence versus video, in narrative production by normal healthy adults. Twenty younger and twenty older adults with no cognitive or language deficits participated in this study. Each participant produced two different narratives, one based on a picture sequence stimulus and the other based on a video stimulus. Lexical diversity, verbnoun ratio, cohesion, coherence and content richness of each narrative were measured and compared across age groups and task conditions. Results of the study showed that age did not have an effect on any of the dependent measures. Narratives elicited from the picture sequence condition appeared to have a higher lexical diversity than those elicited from the video condition, which was found to be due to the lower total number of words in narratives of the picture sequence condition. Task did not have an effect on verb-noun ratio, cohesion, coherence and content richness. Unexpectedly, a main effect of task was found on total number of words and the percentage of core propositions produced. Limitations and clinical implication of the current study, as well as future direction for research, are discussed.

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