Doctors told why older people read more slowly


Медики рассказали, почему пожилые люди медленнее читаютSlow reading will help to ensure correct understanding of the text.

The staff of the language Centre and brain of the National research University “Higher school of Economics” examined whether the slowing of elderly people when reading “strategic” in nature.

In the study they wanted to test whether the slowdown is an absolute necessity for understanding the text, or it is due to the so-called “strategic” reasons –abundance of caution, the fear of making a mistake and to save cognitive effort and to adapt the workload to their neurophysiological features.

In experiment participated volunteers from two age groups: younger – from 18 to 24 years of age and older – from 59 to 81 years. First, scientists found out the individual reading speed of each participant: on the computer screen were displayed word-by-word proposals and for the transition to each next word, the participant had to press the button. This allowed us to calculate what the reading speed of each participant prefers.

The next day, the speed of withdrawal of proposals has already been asked from the outside: in one part of the test it was equal to the average speed of the participant, and in another part is accelerated twice.

Scientists have speculated that the young participants chose for themselves the maximum possible speed, allowing a good understanding of all the read and for the older participants in “strategic” was read slower than they could. It was expected that the presentation proposals in the accelerated mode, less will decrease the correct understanding in the elderly than in the young. However, the hypothesis was not confirmed!

When withdrawal of offers was fast, correct answers declined equally in young and elderly participants. Thus, the study found no evidence that when self-paced reading older people deliberately slow down. Alas, still the slowdown is inevitable: for example, provide the time needed for lexical access and grammatical analysis. Perhaps it is the slower the reading speed will help to ensure correct understanding of the text.


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