Older adults make greater use of word predictability in Chinese reading
journal contributionposted on 22.07.2019, 08:36 by S Zhao, L Lin, M Chang, Q Xu, K Zhang, J Wang, K Paterson
An influential account of normative aging effects on reading holds that older adults make greater use of contextual predictability to facilitate word identification. However, supporting evidence is scarce. Accordingly, we used measures of eye movements to experimentally investigate age differences in word predictability effects in Chinese reading, as this non-alphabetic language has characteristics that may promote such effects. Wordskipping rates were higher and reading times lower for more highly predictable words for both age groups. Effects of word predictability on word-skipping did not differ across the two adult age groups. However, word predictability effects in reading time measures sensitive to both lexical identification (i.e., gaze duration) and contextual integration (i.e., regression-path reading times) were larger for the older than younger adults. Our findings therefore reveal that older Chinese readers make greater use of a word’s predictability to facilitate both its lexical identification and integration with the prior sentence context.