The effects of real-world knowledge on text processing among older adults

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20 Scopus citations


In the present study, the effects of knowledge on text processing were investigated among older adults. Past research has shown that knowledge reduces processing time among older readers, however, this finding was based on schematic knowledge. Schematic knowledge is a highly prescribed knowledge that draws on commonly held general world knowledge. Domain knowledge, on the other hand, is specialized real-world knowledge within a particular area (e.g., chess, physics, cooking). Past research has shown that domain knowledge engages additional processing resources among younger adults. If this is true of the elderly, then this type of knowledge may pose a challenge to older adults. Regression analyses were used to investigate word-by-word reading time patterns among high- and low-knowledge older adults. Older high-knowledge readers did in fact increase resource allocation to texts that drew on domain knowledge and in turn showed higher levels of recall. These data suggest that knowledge promotes the productive allocation of processing resources among older adults, thus enabling them to take full advantage of knowledge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-148
Number of pages12
JournalAging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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