This study evaluates the involvement of switching skills and working memory capacity in auditory sentence processing in older adults. The authors examined 241 healthy participants, aged 55 to 88 years, who completed four neuropsychological tasks and two sentence-processing tasks. In addition to age and the expected contribution of working memory, switching ability, as measured by the number of perseverative errors on the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, emerged as a strong predictor of performance on both sentence-processing tasks. Individuals with both low working-memory spans and more perseverative errors achieved the lowest accuracy scores. These findings are consistent with compensatory accounts of successful performance in older age.
Goral, Mira; Clark-Cotton, Manuella; Spiro, Avron III; Obler, Loraine; Verkuilen, Jay; and Albert, Martin, "The Contribution of Set Switching and Working Memory to Sentence Processing in Older Adults" (2011). CUNY Academic Works.