Age Differences in the Effects of Domain Knowledge on Reading Efficiency

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35 Scopus citations


In the present study, the author investigated age differences in the effects of knowledge on the efficiency with which information is processed while reading. Individuals between 18 and 85 years of age, with varying levels of cooking knowledge, read and recalled a series of short passages within the domain of cooking. Reading efficiency was operationalized as time spent reading divided by the amount recalled for each passage. Results showed that reading efficiency increased with increasing levels of knowledge among older but not younger adults. Similarly, those with smaller working memory capacities showed increasing efficiency with increasing knowledge. These findings suggest that knowledge promotes a more efficient allocation policy that is particularly helpful in later life, perhaps due to age-related declines in working memory capacity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-74
Number of pages12
JournalPsychology and Aging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2009


  • aging
  • cognitive efficiency
  • knowledge level
  • reading comprehension
  • working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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