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Effect of Communicative Goals on Telling Two Types of Autobiographical Narratives in Young and Older Adults

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Title: Effect of Communicative Goals on Telling Two Types of Autobiographical Narratives in Young and Older Adults
Physical Description: 1 online resource (91 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Trunk, Dunja L
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2007

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: aging, autobiographical, communication, episodic, memory, narratives, procedural
Psychology -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Psychology thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: The present research investigated young and older adults' communicative goals for autobiographical narratives and then assessed their ability to meet as well as alter these goals. Young and older participants told episodic (e.g., a memorable vacation) and procedural (e.g., one's morning routine) narratives, which were rated by another group of young and older listeners. Older adults had a more comprehensive set of goals that were similar for both topics, whereas young adults? goals were more disparate across topics. For meeting goals, young adults were better than older adults at meeting the goal of clarity for procedural topics, whereas older adults were more successful at meeting the goal of elaborativeness for episodic topics. Although young adults were more successful at altering their goals, both age groups demonstrated the ability to do so. The results suggest that differences in goals and difficulties with inhibition can affect discourse styles across the lifespan.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Dunja L Trunk.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2007.
Local: Adviser: Abrams, Lise.

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Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2007
System ID: UFE0021151:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0021151/00001

Material Information

Title: Effect of Communicative Goals on Telling Two Types of Autobiographical Narratives in Young and Older Adults
Physical Description: 1 online resource (91 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Trunk, Dunja L
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2007

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: aging, autobiographical, communication, episodic, memory, narratives, procedural
Psychology -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Psychology thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: The present research investigated young and older adults' communicative goals for autobiographical narratives and then assessed their ability to meet as well as alter these goals. Young and older participants told episodic (e.g., a memorable vacation) and procedural (e.g., one's morning routine) narratives, which were rated by another group of young and older listeners. Older adults had a more comprehensive set of goals that were similar for both topics, whereas young adults? goals were more disparate across topics. For meeting goals, young adults were better than older adults at meeting the goal of clarity for procedural topics, whereas older adults were more successful at meeting the goal of elaborativeness for episodic topics. Although young adults were more successful at altering their goals, both age groups demonstrated the ability to do so. The results suggest that differences in goals and difficulties with inhibition can affect discourse styles across the lifespan.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Dunja L Trunk.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2007.
Local: Adviser: Abrams, Lise.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2007
System ID: UFE0021151:00001


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THE EFFECT OF COMMUNICATIVE GOALS ON TELLING TWO TYPES OF
AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL NARRATIVES IN YOUNG AND OLDER ADULTS




















By

DUNJA LUND TRUNK


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2007
































O 2007 Dunj a Lund Trunk





























To my husband, Jordan, and our two dogs, Abby and Bailey









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The writing of my dissertation would not have been possible without the support of many

people. My sincere gratitude must first go to my advisor, Dr. Lise Abrams. Her extraordinary

mentoring allowed me to successfully complete my dissertation and the doctoral program in

cognitive psychology at the University of Florida. Dr. Abrams not only provided me with

guidance on my research proj ects, but she also served as a phenomenal teacher for me to emulate

as I begin my own career in academia.

I am very grateful for the members of my outstanding doctoral committee, professors Lise

Abrams, Lori Altmann, Susan Bluck, and Ira Fischler, who challenged me with their insightful

comments and questions. I would like to thank them for their encouragement and guidance. My

research for this dissertation was greatly improved through their perceptive input, and I deeply

appreciate their helpful suggestions.

My thanks go out to my colleagues and friends, especially Lisa Merrill and Sara Margolin,

who kept things fun and made our lab such a great place to work. My graduate studies would not

have been the same without them. I owe a special note of gratitude to my exceptional research

assistants, Kimberly Gorski and Paige Spencer, for assisting me with various tasks on my

dissertation. Their dedication and hard work is greatly appreciated.

I would like to thank my family for believing in me, not only during my graduate studies,

but in all of my endeavors. Their ability to make me laugh allowed me to keep going and find

humor in life even during the most challenging of times. I am especially grateful to my husband

and best friend, Jordan, who is a constant source of support in my life. His unselfish love and

patience is appreciated more than he knows. I dedicate this work to him and our two sweet dogs,

Abby and Bailey.













TABLE OF CONTENTS


page


ACKNOWLEDGMENT S .............. ...............4.....


T ABLE OF CONTENT S............... ...............5


LIST OF TABLES ................ ...............7............ ....


AB S TRAC T ......_ ................. ............_........9


CHAPTER


1 INTRODUCTION ................. ...............10.......... ......


Background ................. .. ............ ...............10.......
The Present Research Studies............... ...............17

Hypotheses .............. ...............17....


2 PILOT STUDY AND EXPERIMENT 1............... ...............20...


Pilot Questionnaire .............. ...............20....
Pilot Method .............. ...............20....

Participants .............. ...............20....
M material s ................. ...............20.......... .....
Procedure ................. ...............22.................
Re sults ................ ...............22.................

Experiment 1................ ...............23...
M ethod ................. ...............24.......... ......

Participants .............. ...............24....
M material s ................. ...............25.......... .....
Procedure ................. ...............25.................

Tran scri pti on ................. ...............28........... ...
Re sults ................ ...............28.................

Goal Ratings .............. ...............28....
Word Count .............. ...............32....
Discussion ................. ...............33.................


3 EXPERIMENT 2 ................ ...............47........... ....


Purpose .............. ...............47....
Method ................. ...............48.................

Participants .............. ...............48....
M material s ................. ...............49.......... .....
Procedure ................. ...............50.................
R e sults................ .. ........ ...............51.......

Meeting Goals .............. ...............51....












Altering Goals .............. ...............52....
OT S............... ...............54..
Discussion ................. ...............56.................


4 DI SCUS SSION ................. ...............7.. 1......... ....


APPENDIX


A PARTS 1 & 2 OF PILOT QUESTIONNAIRE ................ ...............81..............


B PARTS 3 & 4 OF PILOT QUESTIONNAIRE ................ ...............83..............


C RATER EVALUATION SHEET ................. ...............87.......... .....


REFERENCES .............. ...............88....


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .............. ...............91....










LIST OF TABLES


Table page

2-1 Percentage of time young and older speakers self-reported goals among the first
three goal s produced. ............. ...............3 8....

2-2 Means and standard deviations for background variables. ............. .....................3

2-3 Young adults' goal preferences for episodic and procedural topics ................ ...............40

2-4 Older adults' goal preferences for episodic and procedural topics ................. ................40

2-5 Clarity-interest by speaker age group and topic type............... ...............40..

2-6 Fascinating-focus by speaker age group and topic type. ............. .....................4

2-7 Comprehensible-elaborative by speaker age group and topic type. ............. ..................41

2-8 Entertaining-simple by speaker age group and topic type. ................ ..................4

2-9 Logical-stimulating by speaker age group and topic type. ............. .....................4

2-10 Educational-obj ective by speaker age group and topic type ................. ............. .......42

2-11 Mean number of words by speaker age group, topic type, and instructions. ................... ..42

3-1 Means and standard deviations for background variables in Experiment 2. .....................63

3-2 Characteristics of the six sets of transcripts in Experiment 2. ................ ............... .....63

3-3 Young and older speakers on clarity and elaborativeness by young raters in
Experiment 2 ................. ...............64.................

3-4 Young and older speakers on clarity and elaborativeness by older raters in
Experiment 2 ................. ...............64.................

3-5 Young and older speakers on talkativeness and elaborativeness by young raters in
Experiment 2 ................. ...............65.................

3-6 Young and older speakers on talkativeness and elaborativeness by older raters in
Experiment 2 ................. ...............65.................

3-7 Young and older speakers on focus and logical by young raters in Experiment 2............66

3-8 Young and older speakers on focus and logical by older raters in Experiment 2..............66










LIST OF FIGURES
Figure page

2-1 Clarity and interest as a function of topic type by young and older adults. ....................43

2-2 Fascinating and focus as a function of topic type by young and older adults. ................43

2-3 Comprehensible and elaborative as a function of topic type by young and older
adults. .............. ...............44....

2-4 Entertaining and simple as a function of topic type by young and older adults. ........._....44

2-5 Logical and stimulating as a function of topic type by young and older adults. .........._....45

2-6 Educational and obj ective as a function of topic type by young and older adults. ............45

2-7 Mean number of words spoken averaged across speaker age group. ............. .... .........._..46

3-1 Clarity for the Speaker Age Group x Topic Type interaction.. ............ .....................67

3-2 Episodic topics: Talkativeness for the Speaker Age Group x Topic Type x
Instructions interaction............... ..............6

3-3 Procedural topics: Talkativeness for the Speaker Age Group x Topic Type x
Instructions interaction............... ..............6

3-4 Episodic topics: Elaborativeness for the Speaker Age Group x Topic Type x
Instructions interaction............... ..............6

3-5 Procedural topics: Elaborativeness for the Speaker Age Group x Topic Type x
Instructions interaction............... ..............6

3-6 Focus for the Speaker Age Group x Topic Type interaction ................. .....................70









Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

THE EFFECT OF COMMUNICATIVE GOALS ON TELLING TWO TYPES OF
AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL NARRATIVES IN YOUNG AND OLDER ADULTS

By

Dunj a Lund Trunk

August 2007

Chair: Lise Abrams
Major: Psychology

The present research investigated young and older adults' communicative goals for

autobiographical narratives and then assessed their ability to meet as well as alter these goals.

Young and older participants told episodic (e.g., a memorable vacation) and procedural (e.g.,

one' s morning routine) narratives, which were rated by another group of young and older

listeners. Older adults had a more comprehensive set of goals that were similar for both topics,

whereas young adults' goals were more disparate across topics. For meeting goals, young adults

were better than older adults at meeting the goal of clarity for procedural topics, whereas older

adults were more successful at meeting the goal of elaborativeness for episodic topics. Although

young adults were more successful at altering their goals, both age groups demonstrated the

ability to do so. The results suggest that differences in goals and difficulties with inhibition can

affect discourse styles across the lifespan.









CHAPTER 1
INTTRODUCTION

Background

Previous research provides evidence for the idea that young and older adults' quality and

style of discourse tends to differ as a function of their intentions, or, communicative goals.

Communicative goals can determine the selection of which speech style a person may choose to

utilize (Giles & Coupland, 1991; Hymes, 1972; Labov, 1969). For example, young adults may

sometimes adopt a condescending style of discourse when speaking to older adults, even when

the older adults are healthy and functioning normally (Hummert, 1994; Kemper, 1994; Ryan,

Giles, Bartolucci, & Henwood, 1986). This speech style is thought to reflect the way in which

the young speakers view older adults, which in turn shapes their communicative goals (e.g.,

speak slowly, clearly, loudly) with older adults (James, Burke, Austin, & Hulme, 1998). Older

adults, on the other hand, may select a more expansive discourse style, as a reflection of their

desire for social interaction and the value they place on the process of talking (Giles &

Coupland, 1991; Giles et al., 1992). Although it is suggested in the literature that young and

older adult have different communicative goals, there is no empirical research quantifying what

those goals are.

My research investigated communicative goals held by young and older adults and the

ways in which these goals might affect how each age group conveys autobiographical

information. Autobiographical information was chosen because age differences in

communicative styles are typically largest when the discourse topic is related to the telling of

personal narratives and significant life events (James et. al, 1998). Specific aims of the present

research were: (1) to assess communicative goals that are held by young and older adults and to

determine whether these communicative goals differ as a function of age and autobiographical









discourse topic, (2) to compare young and older adults' ability to meet their communicative

goals, from a listener' s perspective, for two types of autobiographical discourse topics, and (3) to

explore whether young and older adults can consciously alter their speech style when given

specific instructions about which goals should be emphasized in their narratives.

Communicative goals have previously been shown to influence language production,

specifically the level of talkativeness and off-topic speech (OTS; also referred to as off-topic

verbosity, e.g., Arbuckle & Pushkar Gold, 1993; Gold, Andres, Arbuckle, & Schwartzman,

1988; Gold, Arbuckle, & Andres, 1994). For example, James et al. (1998) suggested that older

adults use more elaborative speech and go off-topic more often than young adults in order to

meet their specific communicative goals. However, it remains unclear in the literature whether

OTS is directly tied to communicative goals or whether it is caused by other factors, such as an

inability to inhibit irrelevant information. Throughout the past several decades, a fair amount of

research has been done on talkativeness and OTS in older adults, topics that some might argue

are still not very well understood today. OTS refers to speech that may start out on-topic, but

quickly becomes prolonged, unconstrained, and irrelevant to the present topic at hand. Arbuckle

and Gold (1993) identified the two key determinants of OTS, namely lack of focus and

coherence. Lack of focus refers to speech that has continuous intrusions of irrelevant speech,

whereas lack of coherence refers to speech that is lacking in orderly continuity to a listener.

Arbuckle, Nohara-LeClair, and Pushkar (2000) added that the decrease in the focus and

coherence of speech produced by older adults is typically caused by the intrusion of irrelevant

personal information, such as in a conversation about autobiographical subj ect matter.

Alternatively, James et al. (1998) proposed that OTS is a change in speaking behavior made by

older adults as a reflection of their different communicative goals.









Two main hypotheses underlying the causes of age-linked OTS have been proposed in the

literature to date: the inhibitory deficit hypothesis and the pragmatic change hypothesis. The

inhibitory deficit hypothesis is a theoretical framework based on the inhibition deficit hypothesis

(Hasher & Zacks, 1988; Stoltzfus, Hasher, & Zacks, 1996; West, 1996; Zacks & Hasher, 1994)

and suggests that OTS is caused by an age-related inhibitory deficit (Arbuckle & Gold, 1993;

Pushkar Gold & Arbuckle, 1995). The inhibitory deficit explanation of OTS maintains that older

adults may be more inclined to OTS because they have difficulties with inhibiting irrelevant

stimulus associations (e.g., random thoughts and topics) from working memory. This inhibition

deficit would lead them to talk about topics that are unrelated to the actual topic at hand and will

affect all aspects of older adults' language production (e.g., both autobiographical and non-

autobiographical speech topics)

Evidence for the inhibitory deficit hypothesis of OTS comes from several studies (e.g.,

Arbuckle et al. 2000; Glosser & Deser, 1992; Juncos-Rabadan, 1996). Glosser and Deser (1992)

interviewed middle-aged and elderly healthy participants and analyzed their discourse

productions in terms of global thematic coherence, which refers to how well participants stayed

focused on the general topic of discourse. The researchers found that in contrast to the middle-

aged participants, the elderly participants did not stay on the general topic of discourse, which

the authors suggested was because older adults were unable to inhibit random thoughts and

topics. Arbuckle et al. (2000) assessed OTS in older adults by first categorizing participants into

high, mid and low OTS groups on the basis of a life-history interview. The researchers then used

a referential communication task, in which one individual (the director) is required to describe

abstract figures to another individual (the matcher). The directors and matchers were given

identical sets of stimuli, which consisted of six geometric figures, or Tangrams. The directors









were asked to give the matchers information about the stimuli so the matcher could rearrange his

or her stimuli in the same sequence as the director. The results showed that directors from the

high OTS group were less efficient than mid and low OTS directors in decreasing the time

needed to complete the referential task across the trials. In addition, they found that directors

from the high OTS group took more time to develop labels, (e.g., Indian, handstand, man

bowing, runner, woman praying, falling backward), used more words, and were more difficult

for their matchers to comprehend compared to the mid and low OTS directors. In essence,

Arbuckle et al. (2000) found that high levels of OTS were associated with inefficient

communication of non-autobiographical information. Therefore, the inhibitory deficit hypothesis

was supported, as it predicts that OTS will affect speech even in a non-autobiographical context,

such as the referential communication task.

Not all research, however, has shown age differences in OTS (Boden & Bielby; Chapman,

Ulatowska, King, Johnson, & McIntire, 1995; Gould & Dixon, 1993; Shewan & Henderson,

1988) or in the amount of speech as measured by total words, propositions, or utterances. Young

and older adults did not differ in these measures across a variety of different tasks, such as

describing videos (Heller & Dobbs, 1993), everyday activities (Ulatowska, Cannito, Hayashi, &

Fleming, 1985), inkblots (Hayslip, 1981), and memorable experiences (North, Ulatowska,

Macaluso-Haynes, & Bell, 1986). This lack of consistency in age differences in OTS and

talkativeness poses a problem for the inhibitory deficit hypothesis, as it maintains that the

inhibition deficit that older adults experience should apply to all language production tasks.

In contrast to the inhibitory deficit hypothesis, the pragmatic change hypothesis focuses on

the intentions of the speaker' s communicative goals. More specifically, the pragmatic change

hypothesis maintains that young and older adults have different speech styles as a result of the









different communicative goals they hold for their speech (e.g., Boden & Bielby, 1983; Giles &

Coupland, 1991). One view proposes that older adults place greater value on the process of

talking and the opportunity for social interaction with others relative to young adults, as older

adults may view their discourse as part of their identity (e.g., Coupland & Coupland, 1995).

Another view suggests that older adults reminisce more than young adults to serve the function

of teaching and informing others (e.g., Webster, 1998). A third view proposes that older adults

value the opportunity to talk more because they may have less social contacts and therefore

fewer chances to converse with others compared to young adults (e.g., Giles & Coupland, 1991;

Giles, Coupland & Wiemann, 1992). Therefore, their communicative goals may be in line with a

more elaborative style of conversing, hence their propensity for off-topic speech. Given these

goals, the assumption follows that OTS should not occur in all situations involving

communication, but mainly in those which provide older adults with the opportunity to tell

elaborative narratives about themselves and their life story. According to the pragmatic change

hypothesis, older adults should not have as much OTS in communication tasks involving

obj ective information, such as describing pictures of random events, because in that context,

there are more constraints placed on speech production relative to a personal speech topic. With

more constraints, older adults' communicative goals change and become more concise and

obj ective as a function of the context in which they are communicating.

Evidence for the pragmatic change hypothesis can be found in a study conducted by James

et al. (1998). Young and older participants were asked to describe three personal topics, which

included their education, their family, and a memorable or enj oyable vacation. They were also

asked to describe three pictures, which depicted a cookie theft, an elderly couple sitting on a

bench with a family in the background, and two 19th century women looking in a store window.










The pictures were relatively unknown, and they were assumed to be equally relevant to young

and older adults. The results showed that older adults were more talkative than young adults in

terms of producing more words, but only for the personal topics. They were no more talkative

than the young adults when describing the pictures. They also found that age differences in the

proportion of OTS, which was defined as the total number of words that were off-topic, were

found in both picture and personal topics, but this age effect was more pronounced for personal

topics relative to the picture topics. Both of these findings are consistent with the pragmatic

change hypothesis, which predicts more OTS for older adults when conversing about personal

topics. However, off-topic speech within the pragmatic change hypothesis can occur for tasks

like picture descriptions if the task evokes a memory for a personal experience that the older

adults could relay to a listener.

Whereas personal topics automatically evoke autobiographical memories, picture

descriptions may or may not do so. Therefore, the increased OTS observed in James et al. (1998)

for personal topics relative to picture topics may have been due to differences in the extent to

which the topics utilized an autobiographical component. The present research controlled for

differences between the two types of narratives by honing in on two different types of

autobiographical speech topics, namely episodic (e.g., a favorite vacation) and procedural topics

(e.g., a daily routine carried out on a specific day in one's life). These topics are both

autobiographical, as they refer back to a personal memory experienced by the speaker; however,

they differ in terms of the type of speaking style they might elicit, much like the two types of

topics used in James et al. (1998). That is, the episodic topic was designed to capture a unique

autobiographical memory for a memorable one-time event, whereas the procedural topic was










intended to elicit an autobiographical memory containing a sequenced script of events that has

occurred numerous times.

In a second experiment, James et al. (1998) asked a new set of young and older adults to

read transcripts of the young and older adults who had provided personal narratives in the first

experiment. After reading the transcripts, participants evaluated them on a variety of dimensions

including focus, talkativeness, clarity, interest, informativeness, and story quality. The results

revealed that young participants rated the young speakers as being more focused than older

speakers, whereas older participants did not rate young and older speakers differently in terms of

focus. This finding suggests that older adults do not view as many ideas as being off-topic or

unfocused as do young adults. This finding may be due to older adults' increased life

experiences, allowing them to draw connections between ideas that young adults might view as

completely unrelated to each other. James et al., (1998) also found that older speakers' responses

were rated higher than young speakers' responses on interest, informativeness, and story quality

dimensions, which suggests that OTS may have a certain amount of communicative value. Other

studies support the idea that people believe that older adults tell more enj oyable stories than

young adults (e.g., Ryan, Kwong See, Meneer, & Travato, 1992) and that people rate older

adults' stories more positively on interest, informativeness, and story quality dimensions than

young adults' stories (e.g., James et al., 1998; Kemper, Kynette, Rash, O'Brien, & Scott, 1989;

Kemper, Rash, Kynette, & Norman, 1990; Pratt & Robins, 1991).

All of these results provide evidence for the pragmatic change hypothesis, as they showed

a more pronounced age-related increase in OTS on personal topics relative to picture

descriptions. In addition, the results suggest that OTS has communicative value, as older adults'










speech was rated more positively on the interest, informativeness, and story quality dimensions

than that of young adults.

The Present Research Studies

Continuing to categorize OTS does not seem especially beneficial to the literature, as these

categorizations are subj ective and open to the biases of the experimenter. Previous research has

shown multiple ways of operationally defining OTS, but what is to be considered off-topic is

ultimately left up to the experimenter' s discretion, which is problematic given the subj ective

nature of individual opinions. Therefore, the present research investigated young and older

adults' communicative goals and the ability to meet them as an indirect method for looking at the

phenomenon of talkativeness and OTS. As suggested by the pragmatic change hypothesis, older

adults' communicative goals may be the source that leads them to be more talkative and produce

more OTS because they may value the experience of social interaction and the process of talking

more than young adults. By looking at the differences between young and older adults'

communicative goals in varying discourse contexts, the present research sheds light on which

communicative goals young and older adults value, whether young or older adults are better at

meeting their own goals, and whether they are capable of altering them, in terms of becoming

more concise or more elaborative, when instructed to do so.

Hypotheses

Hypothesis 1. In accordance with the pragmatic change hypothesis, young and older adults

were expected to favor a different set of communicative goals, particularly for episodic topics,

and these differences in goals would lead to greater differences in young and older adults' speech

styles. For episodic topics, older adults were expected to favor goals that would allow them to

select a more expressive speech style appropriate for reminiscing about significant life events,

such as being interesting and elaborative. In contrast, young adults were predicted to favor goals









in line with a clearer and more focused speech style because they do not value the telling of

personal narratives and reminiscence as much as older adults (e.g., Giles & Coupland, 1991;

Giles et al., 1992). Young and older adults' favoring of goals for procedural topics were also

predicted to differ, although not to the same extent as for episodic topics because procedural

topics were expected to evoke a more obj ective, detached, and rational speech style suited for

telling a scripted and sequenced type of narrative. However, procedural topics in the present

study were also designed to evoke an autobiographical memory, and therefore some age

differences were expected to be found. Older adults were predicted to favor some of the same

goals that they favored for episodic topics, in order to address the autobiographical aspect of the

procedural topic, whereas young adults were not expected to favor these same goals, as they

would not view personal anecdotes and reminiscence as germane to the topic. Therefore, young

adults' speech styles were predicted to be more constrained by the procedural topic, much like it

was for picture descriptions in James et al. (1998).

Hypothesis 2. When differences between young and older adults' goals are factored out

(i.e., focusing solely on goals shared by the two groups), no age differences were expected in the

ability to meet goals. The pragmatic change hypothesis would predict both age groups to be

equivalent in their ability to meet the goals that are of primary value to both age groups, as their

goals would determine the selection of their speech style (e.g., Boden & Bielby, 1983; Giles &

Coupland, 1991) for both episodic and procedural topics. In contrast, the inhibitory deficit

hypothesis would predict older adults to be less successful than young adults at meeting the goals

they hold in common because of their inferior efficiency with suppressing irrelevant information

once it has been activated (e.g., Stoltzfus et al., 1996, Zacks & Hasher, 1994). Specifically, goals

that require the inhibition of extraneous information (i.e., staying on topic, focus, and clarity),









which are likely to be held primarily for procedural topics, would be more difficult for older

adults to meet relative to young adults (e.g., Arbuckle & Gold, 1993; Glosser & Deser, 1992;

Juncos-Rabadan, 1996).

Hypothesis 3. The ability to accept and utilize new communicative goals, different from

one's original goals, was predicted to be more difficult for older adults. There is no clear

evidence in the literature about whether communicative goals are chosen consciously or

subconsciously. The present research attempted to answer this question by giving specific

instructions about which goals should be of primary importance and then assessing whether

speech styles were successfully altered by young and older adults to fit the new goals. As a

function of their age, older adults may have had more time to develop and practice the

communicative goals that are the most important to them in different situations (e.g., Boden &

Bielby, 1983; Coupland & Coupland, 1995), whereas young adults' goals may be less well-

established. Therefore, older adults would require more effort to adapt to and utilize a new

speech style based on instructions about which communicative goals to emphasize. In addition,

the inhibitory deficit hypothesis maintains that older adults have more difficulty inhibiting

irrelevant information, which in this case would be their original communicative goals. Whether

due to an inability (as proposed by the inhibitory deficit hypothesis) or a conscious choice

(resistance to changing their original goals, which have worked so well for them in the past),

older adults were not expected to be able to alter their original goals and meet new ones as well

as young adults.









CHAPTER 2
PILOT STUDY AND EXPERIMENT 1

Pilot Questionnaire

A pilot questionnaire was completed by young and older adults to assess which

communicative goals were of primary importance to each age group, and whether young and

older adults favored different goals for the two autobiographical topics. The questionnaire was

also used to determine which communicative goals were not considered of great importance to

participants for the two topic types. This latter assessment was vital for Experiments 1 and 2 to

answer the question of whether communicative goals are chosen consciously or subconsciously.

By revealing which goals were not of great importance to participants in the pilot study,

instructions in Experiment 1 used these goals when asking participants to alter their speech style,

ensuring that these were not goals already held by participants.

Pilot Method

Participants

Participants included 43 young adults (ages 18-25) and 38 older adults (ages 75-90).

Young adults were recruited from a cognitive psychology class at the University of Florida, and

older adults were recruited from the University of Florida Cognition and Aging Laboratory

participant pool. All of the older adults were from the Gainesville area vicinity, and many were

recruited from local organizations and from the University of Florida alumni association. Young

adults received extra credit points for their participation, whereas older adults participated on a

voluntary basis.

Materials

The pilot questionnaire consisted of four parts. The first two parts were designed to assess

self-reported communicative goals when telling autobiographical narratives with two different










types of topics (e.g., episodic and procedural). Episodic indicates topics that will elicit a one-time

event without a predetermined sequence, experienced at some point in the past, whereas the term

procedural designates topics that will elicit a sequenced, script of events that has occurred many

times by participants. These topics were chosen to investigate narratives with different purposes

for eliciting autobiographical memories. The episodic topics were a memorable vacation and a

memorable party. The procedural topics were a daily morning routine and a daily evening

routine. The topics were introduced at the beginning of the questionnaire to allow participants to

generate communicative goals specific to either an episodic or a procedural topic. Order of topics

was counterbalanced across participants, such that half of the participants received the episodic

topic in part 1, and the other half received the procedural topic in part 1 (see Appendix A for part

1 and 2 of pilot questionnaire with instructions).

The next two parts were designed to assess which of two specifieally-paired goals was of

more importance to young and older adults. Parts three and four of the questionnaire contained a

list of 8 communicative goal pairs, 6 of which were experimental (clarity-interest; fascinating-

focus; comprehensible-elaborative; entertaining-simple; logical-stimulating; and educational-

obj ective) and 2 of which were fillers (humorous-honest, and emotional-imaginative) Order of

topics was again counterbalanced across participants (see Appendix B for part 3 and 4 of pilot

questionnaire with instructions). The communicative goals were compiled using several of the

same dimensions used in James et al. (1998), and pairs were created by pitting goals suited for an

expressive speech style (e.g., interest, fascinating, elaborative, entertaining, stimulating, and

educational) against goals suited for a more obj ective speech style (e.g., clarity, focus,

comprehensible, simple, logical, and objective). These goal pairs were hypothesized to reveal

important age differences with respect to which goals young and older adults value when telling









narratives with episodic and procedural topics. The filler goal pairs were included to allow

participants to think of additional aspects of telling a narrative but were not grounded in any

previous research and therefore were not analyzed.

Procedure

Older adults were contacted via telephone to assess their interest in filling out the pilot

questionnaire. If older adults agreed to complete the questionnaire, it was mailed to their home

address via first class postal mail. Young adults received the pilot questionnaire in class and

filled it out on their own time. All participants were asked to complete all parts of the

questionnaire in order and were requested to return the questionnaire within two weeks of

receiving it. Older adults returned the questionnaire in a stamped envelope provided by the

experimenter, and young adults turned their completed questionnaires into the experimenter.

Results

The results of the pilot questionnaire were used to determine which communicative goals

were of primary value, and which were of little or no value, based on self-reported goals, for the

maj ority of participants for episodic topics and for procedural topics. Parts 1 and 2 of the pilot

questionnaire revealed that for episodic topics, both young and older adults produced

elaborativeness as one of their top three goals, whereas clarity was one of the top three goals

produced by both young and older adults for procedural topics (see Table 2-1). Furthermore,

none of the participants in either age group produced conciseness as being an important goal on

the self-reported goals of parts 1 and 2 of the questionnaire for elaborative topics, whereas goals

of being elaborative and detailed were not produced by any of the participants for procedural

topics. Therefore, instructing participants to be concise when telling a narrative with an episodic

topic, or to be elaborative for procedural topics in Experiment 1, would in effect be telling them









to alter their goals, or at the very least, to emphasize a goal that is not of great importance to

them .

Ratings on communicative goal pairs from parts 3 and 4 of the pilot questionnaire were

analyzed for comparison with Experiment 1 ratings (taken after narratives were produced), and

will be reported in the results section of Experiment 1.

Experiment 1

The purpose of Experiment 1 was to establish the communicative goals favored by young

and older adults and to determine whether these goals differed as a function of narrative topic.

Using ratings from the pilot study for comparison, Experiment 1 also established whether

favoring these goals remained constant after producing narratives. Experiment 1 was also

conducted to acquire two types of autobiographical narratives from young and older adults, with

episodic and procedural topics. Although the narratives were collected in Experiment 1, analysis

of these narratives were used in conjunction with the raters in Experiment 2 to provide

information about how successful young and older adults were in meeting their self-reported

primary goals of elaborativeness and clarity for episodic and procedural topics, respectively. The

pragmatic change hypothesis maintains that young and older adults' communicative goals differ

as a function of the speech styles they choose to utilize. Age-related differences in goals held by

young and older adults were therefore expected to be revealed in the present study, particularly

for episodic topics. Episodic topics were expected to produce the greatest age differences in

goals because these topics were relevant to reminiscing about personal life events and have

previously been found to elicit differing speech styles in young and older adults (e.g., Glosser &

Deser, 1992; James et al., 1998, ). Procedural topics were also expected to produce some age-

related differences in goals because older adults were expected to use the autobiographical aspect

of these topics to bring in some personal information, whereas young adults were not expected to










do so. However, age differences were expected to be less than for episodic topics, as procedural

topics were designed to be more obj ective, and obj ective topics have previously been found to

elicit similar speech styles in young and older adults overall (e.g., Copper, 1990; Hayslip, 1981,

Heller & Dobbs, 1993; James et al., 1998, Ulatowska et al., 1985).

Method

Participants

Participants included 24 young adults, consisting of 16 females and 8 males (18-21 years;

M~= 19.8, SD = 1.0) and 24 older adults, consisting of 13 females and 11 males (75-87 years; M\~

= 79.6, SD = 3.5), all of whom had previously filled out the communicative goals questionnaire

from the pilot study approximately three weeks to one month earlier. Young adults received

extra credit for their participation, and older adults were paid $8 per hour for their participation.

Participants were screened for normal or corrected-to-normal vision and hearing. The Mini

Mental State Exam of cognitive functioning (MMSE; Folstein, Folstein, & McHugh, 1975) was

given to older adults, and participants with a score of 25 and above were allowed to participate

(M~= 28.3, SD = 1.6).

Background variables, including number of years in school, self-assessment of health,

vocabulary, forward and backward digit span scores of working memory, and self-ratings of

number of hours per day spent writing, reading, watching TV, and doing crossword puzzles were

assessed on all participants. Means and standard deviation scores for all background variables are

shown in Table 2-2. Older adults had more years of education, t(46) = -2.62, p < .01, higher

vocabulary scores, t(46) = -7.95, p < .01, more hours per day spent watching TV, t(46) = -2.25, p

< .03, and more hours doing crossword puzzles, t(46) = -2.42, p < .02. Young adults had higher

self-ratings on health, t(46) = 3.02, p < .01, more hours per day spent writing, t(46) = 3.77, p <










.01, and marginally larger forward digit spans, t(46) = 1.82, p < .08. There were no age

differences on backward digit span and number of hours per day spent reading, ps > .48.

Materials

Four autobiographical topics, two episodic and two procedural, were used to elicit

narratives. The episodic topics were "a memorable vacation they had taken" and "a memorable

party they had hosted or attended". The term episodic indicates topics that will elicit a one-time

event without a predetermined sequence, experienced at some point in the past; similar topics

have yielded a wide range of responses from both young and older adults (e.g., James et al.,

1998). The procedural topics were "their morning routine" (i.e., the steps they took to get ready

to come in to the lab that morning) and "their evening routine" (i.e., the steps they took to get

ready for bed the previous evening). The term procedural designates topics that will elicit a

sequenced, script of events that has occurred many times by participants, but focuses on the most

recent experience. These topics differed from the picture descriptions in James et al. (1998) in

that procedural topics included an autobiographical aspect, which eliminated a potentially

confounding variable of why age differences emerged more for one type of story than the other

in James et al. (1998). Participants' narratives were recorded using a SONY Digital Voice

Recorder. All participants also completed a communicative goals questionnaire identical to the

one they completed in the pilot study (see Appendices A and B).

Procedure

Participants were tested individually by one of three female young adult experimenters

with whom they were not familiar. An informed consent was administered, which instructed

participants that the purpose of the study was to investigate story telling about autobiographical

memories in young and older adults. After completing the background questionnaires and

cognitive tests, the four topics were then given to each participant with the order of topic type









and the specific topic within topic type counterbalanced across participants. The first episodic

and procedural topics were given to participants with no instructions to alter their communicative

goals. Instructions for the episodic topics were as follows: "Take a moment to think back on one

of the most memorable vacations you have taken. I would like you to describe this vacation to

me" or "Take a moment to think back on one of the most memorable parties you have hosted or

attended. I would like you to describe this party to me." Instructions for the procedural topic

were as follows: "Take a moment to think about your daily routine of getting ready in the

morning. I would like you to describe this routine to me, specifically the steps that you took to

get ready to come in to the lab this morning" or "Take a moment to think about your daily

routine of getting ready for bed in the evening. I would like you to describe this routine to me,

specifically the steps that you took to get ready to go to bed last night."

After telling the first two narratives, participants were asked to complete a communicative

goals questionnaire, identical to the one they previously filled out in the pilot study, to explore

whether participants would be consistent in their ratings and reporting of goals after actually

telling stories. The questionnaire was given after the first two narratives had been told, so that it

would not affect the way in which participants told their stories when using their natural goals.

After completing the questionnaire, participants were asked to tell another two narratives, one

with an episodic topic and one with a procedural topic, with order counterbalanced across

participants. This time, however, instructions were aimed at getting participants to alter the

speech style with which they told the story by instructing them to use different communicative

goals. Instructions for episodic topics were as follows: "Sometimes when we tell narratives in

everyday life, we have to alter our communicative goals to fit the situation we're in. For

example, you may need to alter your goals if you or the person you are talking to is in a hurry.









Take a moment to think back on one of the most memorable vacations you have taken. I would

like you to describe this vacation to me, but when describing this narrative, please be as concise

as possible. That is, when you describe this memorable event, try to stick to the point and stay on

topic." The instructions were identical for both types of episodic topics, with the exception of the

subject (e.g., vacation or party). Instructions for procedural topics were as follows: "Sometimes

when we tell narratives in everyday life, we have to alter our communicative goals to fit the

situation we're in. For example, you may need to be more elaborative and detailed if you are

talking about a topic that is unfamiliar to your listener. Take a moment to think about your daily

routine of getting ready in the morning. I would like you to describe this routine to me,

specifically the steps that you took to get ready to come in to the lab this morning. When

describing this routine, please be extremely elaborative. That is, include lots of details and

expand on ideas in your narrative." The instructions were identical for both types of procedural

topics, with the exception of the subj ect (e.g., morning or evening routine).

The instructions to alter goals by being concise on episodic topics and elaborative on

procedural topics were selected based on responses on the pilot study questionnaire. Conciseness

was not among the goals listed by participants for episodic topics, whereas being elaborative and

detailed was not among the goals listed by participants for procedural topics on any of the

questionnaires. It was therefore presumed that instructing participants to emphasize those

particular goals would encourage them to alter their speech style compared to the two narratives

they told in the previous condition.

Participants were told that their narratives would be recorded for future transcription and

analysis and that they should speak for 3-5 minutes on each topic. They were reminded to wrap

up their narratives if they went over the allotted time. During the telling of the narratives, the










experimenter only spoke in order to clarify any procedural questions from the participants and

otherwise simply nodded or responded with "yes" or "no" when appropriate. The three

experimenters made every effort possible to keep their comments and gestures uniform across

participants.

Transcription

The digital recordings of all narratives to the topics were transcribed verbatim. These

transcriptions were used to obtain word counts and to obtain ratings of quality on various

dimensions in Experiment 2. The number of "uhs", "ums," "likes," stuttering repetitions, and

extraneous comments (e.g., "That' s the end of my story") were eliminated, yielding the total

number of words spoken per topic without any disfluencies.

Results

Variables of interest included speaker age group (young, older), topic type (episodic,

procedural), instructions (no instructions, alter goals), and time of ratings (before narratives, after

narratives). Speaker age group was a between-subj ects variable, whereas topic type, instructions,

and time of ratings were within-subj ects variables. The dependent variable was the mean

numeric scale rating given for each goal pair.

Goal Ratings

For a given experimental goal pair, clarity-interest, lower numbers on the rating scale (< 4)

represent valuing the first-mentioned goal (clarity) more than the second (interest), whereas

higher numbers on the rating scale (> 4) represent valuing the second-mentioned goal (interest)

more than the first (clarity). A rating of 4 meant that the two goals were valued equally, so one-

sample t-tests were conducted to analyze whether each age group's mean ratings were

significantly different from 4, indicating a preference for one goal over the other. Goal ratings

were then analyzed in a Speaker Age Group x Topic Type x Time of Ratings ANOVA on the










mean ratings for each of the six experimental goal pairs. Filler goal pairs were not analyzed.

Analyses for each of the six goal pairs are described below, with a summary of the outcome of

these analyses, i.e., young and older adults' goal preferences, presented in Tables 2-3 and 2-4.

Clarity-Interest. Mean ratings of clarity-interest broken down by speaker age group and

topic type are shown in Table 2-5. One-sample t-tests revealed that young adults had preferences

on both types of narratives. For episodic topics, young adults valued interest more than clarity,

t(47) = 13.54, p < .01, whereas for procedural topics, young adults valued clarity more than

interest, t(47) = -17.61, p < .01. In contrast, the t-tests showed that older adults valued interest

and clarity equivalently for both episodic topics, t(47) = 1.56, p > .13, and procedural topics,

t(47) = -0.87, p >.39.

The ANOVA revealed that there was a main effect of topic type, F(1,191) = 1 11.67, M~SE

= 1.98, p < .01, which was qualified by a speaker age group x topic type interaction, F(1, 191) =

56. 10, M~SE = 0.20, p < .01. As shown in Figure 2-1, young adults' ratings were higher than older

adults' for episodic topics, F(1,95) = 21.03, M~SE = 1.97, p < .01, whereas older adults' ratings

were higher than young adults' for procedural topics, F(1,95) = 36.02, M~SE = 1.99, p < .01. No

other effects were significant, ps > .31.

Fascinating-Focus. Table 2-6 shows the mean ratings of fascinating-focus broken down

by speaker age group and topic type. One-sample t-tests showed that young adults preferred

different goals depending on the type of narrative. Young valued fascinating more than focus for

episodic topics, t(47) = -9.70, p < .01, whereas young adults valued focus more than fascinating

for procedural topics, t(47) = 11.68, p < .01. In contrast, the t-tests showed that older adults

valued fascinating and focus equivalently for both episodic topics, t(47) = -1.40, p > .17, and

procedural topics, t(47) =1.17, p >.25.










A main effect of topic type was shown by the ANOVA, F(1,191) = 77.94, M~SE = 2.39, p <

.01, and this effect was qualified by an interaction. Figure 2-2 reveals that speaker age group

interacted with topic type, F(1, 191) = 31.95, M~SE = 0.22, p < .01. Older adults' ratings were

higher than young adults' for episodic topics, F(1,95) = 11.72, M~SE = 2.50, p < .01, whereas

young adults' ratings were higher than older adults' for procedural topics, F(1,95) = 21.14, M~SE

= 2.28, p < .01. No other effects were significant, ps > .28.

Comprehensible-Elaborative. Mean ratings of comprehensible-elaborative broken down

by speaker age group and topic type are shown in Table 2-7. One-sample t-tests illustrated that

for episodic topics, young adults valued elaborative more than comprehensible, t(47) = 3.97, p <

.01, whereas for procedural topics, young adults valued comprehensible more than elaborative,

t(47) = -14.68, p < .01. In contrast, older adults valued comprehensible more than elaborative for

both episodic topics, t(47) = -5.46, p < .01, and procedural topics, t(47) = -6.07, p < .01.

The ANOVA illustrated that there was a main effect of topic type, F(1,191) = 44.20, M~SE

= 2.02, p < .01, and a main effect of speaker age group, F(1,191) = 16.07, M~SE = 0. 15, p < .01.

Both of the main effects were qualified by an interaction. As demonstrated in Figure 2-3, speaker

age group interacted with topic type, F(1, 191) = 38.96, M~SE = 0.21, p < .01, because young

adults' ratings were higher than older adults' for episodic topics, F(1,95) = 44.80, M~SE = 2.37, p

< .01, whereas older adults' ratings were marginally higher than young adults' ratings for

procedural topics, F(1,95) = 3.01, M~SE = 1.67, p < .09. No other effects were significant, ps >

.39.

Entertaining-Simple. Table 2-8 shows the mean ratings of entertaining-simple broken

down by speaker age group and topic type. One-sample t-tests revealed that for young adults

valued entertaining more than simple for episodic topics, t(47) = -19.90, p < .01, whereas young










adults valued simple more than entertaining for procedural topics, t(47) = 5.64, p < .01. In

contrast, the t-tests showed that older adults valued entertaining more than simple for both

episodic topics, t(47) = -7.27, p < .01, and procedural topics, t(47) = -2.97, p < .01.

A main effect of topic type, F(1,191) = 102.20, M~SE = 1.92, p < .01, and a main effect of

speaker age group, F(1, 191) = 6.26, M~SE = .14, p < .01, were qualified by an interaction. Figure

2-4 illustrates that speaker age group interacted with topic type, F(1, 191) = 47.31, M~SE = 0.20,

p < .01, because older adults' ratings were higher than young adults' ratings for episodic topics,

F(1,95) = 14.68, M~SE = 1.25, p < .01, whereas young adults' ratings were higher than older

adults' ratings for procedural topics, F(1,95) = 32.65, M~SE = 2.58, p < .01. No other effects were

significant, ps > .40.

Logical-Stimulating. Mean ratings of logical-stimulating broken down by speaker age

group and topic type are shown in Table 2-9. One-sample t-tests showed similar patterns for

young and older adults. For episodic topics, young adults valued logical and stimulating

equivalently, t(47) = 1.57, p > .12, whereas for procedural topics, young adults valued logical

more than stimulating, t(47) = -17. 17, p < .01. Similarly, for episodic topics, older adults valued

logical and stimulating equivalently, t(47) = -1.45, p > .15, but valued logical more than

stimulating for procedural topics, t(47) = -4. 16, p < .01.

The ANOVA showed that there was a main effect of topic type, F(1,191) = 49.37, M~SE =

2. 19, p < .01, qualified by an interaction. As shown in Figure 2-5, speaker age group interacted

with topic type, F(1,191) = 40.33, M~SE = 0.21, p < .01, because young adults' ratings were

higher than older adults' ratings for episodic topics, F(1,95) = 4.59, M~SE = 2.78, p < .04,

whereas older adults' ratings were higher than young adults' ratings for procedural topics,

F(1.95) = 18.37, M~SE = 1.59, p < .01. No other effects were significant, ps > .17.










Educational-Obj ective. Table 2-10 shows the mean ratings of educational-obj ective

broken down by speaker age group and topic type. One-sample t-tests illustrated that young

adults had preferences on both types of narratives. Young adults valued educational more than

obj ective for episodic topics, t(47) = -8.06, p < .01, whereas young adults valued obj ective more

than educational for procedural topics, t(47) = 2.20, p < .03. In contrast, the t-tests showed that

older adults valued educational more than obj ective for episodic topics, t(47) = -3.3 8, p < .01,

and marginally more for procedural topics, t(47) = -1.94, p < .06.

A main effect of topic type, F(1,191) = 20.85, M~SE = 2.50, p < .01, was illustrated by the

ANOVA, and this effect was qualified by an interaction. Figure 2-6 reveals that speaker age

group interacted with topic type, F(1, 191) = 11.42, M~SE = 0.23, p < .01, because older adults'

ratings were marginally higher than young adults' for episodic topics, F(1,95) = 3.12, M~SE =

1.92, p < .08, whereas young adults ratings' were higher than older adults' for procedural topics,

F(1.95) = 8.47, M~SE = 3.07, p < .01. No other effects were significant, ps > .17.

Word Count

A Speaker Age Group x Topic Type x Instructions ANOVA was used to analyze the total

number of words spoken. Mean number of words broken down by speaker age group, topic type,

and instructions are shown in Table 2-11. A main effect of speaker age group was found, F(1,

46) = 10.41, M~SE = 100,690.06, p < .01, where older adults spoke more words (M = 368.74)

than young adults (M = 220.98). As shown in Figure 2-7, there was also a Topic Type x

Instructions interaction, F(1, 46) = 35.43, M~SE = 746,628.80, p < .01, where speakers produced

less words for episodic topics when there were instructions to alter goals and be more concise

relative to no instructions to alter goals, F(1, 47) = 25.72, M~SE = 25,702.86, p < .01. In contrast,

speakers produced more words for procedural topics when there were instructions to alter goals

and be more elaborative relative to no instructions, F(1, 47) = 6.3 8, M~SE = 26,201.45, p < .02.









Alternatively, episodic topics produced more words than procedural topics with no instructions,

but the opposite pattern emerged when instructions to alter goals were given. No other effects

were significant, either with or without age group, ps > .11.

Discussion

The pragmatic change hypotheses predicted that young and older adults would favor

different goals, particularly for episodic topics, which are more inviting of expressive speech

styles and personal reminiscence than procedural topics. The results supported the pragmatic

change hypothesis, in part, because they revealed that young and older adults did favor different

communicative goals for episodic topics and for procedural topics. For episodic topics, older

adults were predicted to favor goals suited for a more expressive speech style, whereas young

adults were predicted to favor goals which were in line with a more obj ective speech style. The

results partially supported this prediction, as older adults favored some, but not all, goals in line

with an expressive speech style; however, they also valued both expressive and obj ective goals

in a goal pair equivalently in several cases. Contrary to the predictions, young adults almost

exclusively favored goals in line with an expressive speech style for episodic topics. These

results suggest that both young and older adults may intend to use an expressive speech style

suited for telling episodic narratives, but older adults have additional goals that enable their

stories to be more well-rounded. Perhaps both expressive and obj ective goals are necessary to

tell a more enjoyable story (e.g., Ryan et al., 1992; Kemper et al., 1990; James et al., 1998), and

older adults have more experience with what makes for a good story as a function of their

increased age (e.g., Boden & Bielby, 1983; Kemper, 1992). Additionally, the results indicate that

for older adults, comprehensibility is more important than elaborativeness for episodic topics.

Older adults may be more concerned than young adults with comprehensibility, perhaps as a

conscious safeguard against going off-topic, an issue with which young adults typically do not









have to be concerned, as suggested by the inhibitory deficit hypothesis (e.g., Arbuckle & Gold,

1993; Hasher & Zacks, 1988; West, 1996; Zacks & Hasher, 1994).

In accord with the pragmatic change hypothesis and with experimental predictions, there

were also goals for procedural topics on which young and older adults diverged. Young adults

exclusively favored goals related to an obj ective speech style (e.g., simple, obj ective), whereas

older adults again favored some goals related to a more expressive speech style (e.g.,

entertaining, educational) and some related to a more obj ective speech style. This pattern of

results suggests that older adults paid greater attention than young adults to the autobiographical

aspect of the procedural topics, allowing them to utilize a wider variety of goals. Perhaps older

adults emphasized the autobiographical aspect of the procedural topic, allowing them to keep

similar goals across topics, because they are interested in personal narratives and reminiscence

(e.g., Boden & Bielby, 1983; Coupland & Coupland, 1995). In contrast, young adults'

communicative goals emphasize simplicity and obj activity with the change of narrative topic,

suggesting that they may view this topic as less autobiographical and more obj ective in nature,

similar to picture descriptions.

In spite of differences between young and older adults' goals, they also shared several

goals in common for both topics. For episodic topics, both young and older adults valued telling

entertaining and educational narratives more than telling simplistic and obj ective narratives. This

finding suggests that when telling narratives that evoke a one-time event from autobiographical

memory, such as a favorite vacation, both young and older adults prefer to utilize a speech style

that leads to an engaging narrative. Perhaps entertaining and educational are valued over

simplistic and obj ective because the memory being recalled was a memorable and enlightening

event in their lives, and they wanted to convey this memory to their listeners in a manner suited










to personal narratives (e.g., Giles & Coupland, 1991; Giles et al., 1992). The present results

suggest that certain goals are uniformly favored over others across the lifespan when telling a

narrative about an episodic topic. Dimensions such as entertainment may be a key element when

selecting a speech style for such a topic, and age differences may not be in the goals themselves,

but in the ability to meet those goals, an issue that will be explored further in Experiment 2.

There were also goals for procedural topics on which young and older adults agreed. Both

age groups valued telling narratives that were comprehensible and logical more than narratives

that were elaborative and stimulating. Comprehensibility was valued over elaborativeness,

perhaps as a way to signify that a procedural topic, such as a daily routine, does not necessarily

call for a myriad of details to be included, but rather for a narrative that is understandable.

Telling a logical narrative was valued above telling a stimulating narrative, indicating that

procedural topics do not necessarily motivate speakers to tell an exciting story, but rather the

nature of the topic lends itself to a speech style that emphasizes an orderly sequence of events.

Similar to episodic topics, results for procedural topics indicate that there are specific goals that

remain consistent across both age groups. Selecting a speech style suited for procedural topics

appears to be based, in part, on a desire to be comprehensible and logical for both young and

older adults. Perhaps those dimensions are more inherent to the topic than other goals because

they allow for a speech style that best accomplishes the step-by-step description required to relay

a coherent narrative about a daily routine.

The word count analyses provided a preliminary glimpse into young and older adults'

ability to alter their communicative goals. The results showed that both age groups produced less

words for episodic topics when told to be concise than when using their original goals, and they

produced more words for procedural topics when told to be elaborative than when using their










original goals. These findings suggests that, at least in terms of words produced, young and older

adults were able to inhibit or accentuate their speech to meet goals specified for them. However,

number of words produced is not necessarily the best indicator of success in terms of being more

concise or more elaborative, as it does not answer the question of what type of speech style was

used. For example, James et al., (1998) found that older adults spoke more words than young

adults for personal topics, and they were also rated higher on interest, informativeness, and story

quality, suggesting that their increased talkativeness may have been a result of the speech style

they chose to utilize to make for a better story. The question of whether young and older adults

can alter their goals will be explored in more detail in Chapter 3.

Summary. The results of the present study revealed that young adults consistently had

more disparity in their goals for episodic versus procedural topics compared with older adults.

This finding suggests that young adults' communicative goals were more affected by the type of

autobiographical narrative they were telling relative to older adults. For young adults, it appears

that telling an autobiographical narrative with an episodic topic was very different from a

procedural topic in terms of what communicative goals they valued and which speech style they

chose to utilize. In contrast, older adults' goals were identical for episodic and procedural topics

(with the exception of logical-stimulating, where older adults valued them equivalently for

episodic topics and logical more than stimulating for procedural topics). The consistency in older

adults' communicative goals across topic types indicates that their speech style was less affected

by the type of narrative they were telling compared to young adults.

According to the pragmatic change hypothesis, young and older adults' speech styles differ

because they hold different communicative goals, and present research extends this hypothesis

by suggesting that age-related differences in speech styles may also appear because older adults









have a more diverse set of communicative goals relative to young adults. The results revealed

that on several dimensions, older adults valued both goals equivalently (e.g., clarity-interest,

fascinating-focus). This finding suggests that older adults may approach storytelling with more

goals in mind than young adults. For example, older adults may utilize a speech style that is both

clear and interesting, fascinating, and focused, whereas young adults may utilize a speech style

that is either clear and focused or interesting and fascinating, depending on the speech topic.

Older adults have typically had more experience with telling stories throughout their life (e.g.,

Boden & Bielby, 1983; Kemper, 1992), and may see the value of having multifaceted goals,

whereas young adults may still be developing their story-telling skills and therefore have a

narrower view of which goals make for the best story as well as a more limited ability to utilize

multiple goals across different narrative topics. Finally, it is noteworthy that there were no

significant differences in goal ratings between the pilot study and Experiment 1, suggesting that

both young and older adults' ratings of their communicative goals remained constant over time,

i.e., before and after telling narratives. This finding suggests that people are aware of their

communicative goals and are able to reliably report them in different situations.

The following chapter will address Experiment 2, which was designed to obtain ratings of

the narratives generated in Experiment 1 in order to shed light on how effective young and older

adults were in meeting as well as altering their communicative goals.










Table 2-1. Percentage of time young and older speakers self-reported goals among the first three
goals produced.
Older speakers Young speakers


Episodic topics
Elaborative 63% Elaborative 92%
Interesting 46% Convey emotions 92%
Listener comprehension 42% Involving listener 54%

Procedural topics
Interesting 54% Logical 75%
Clarity 52% Clarity 67%
Comprehensible 38% Brevity 46%










Table 2-2. Means and standard deviations for background variables.
Speaker age Standard
Variable group Mean deviation
Years of schooling* Young 14.23 0.98
Older 15.73 2.63


Health rating (max = 10)*



Vocabulary (max = 25)*


Young
Older


Young
Older


Young
Older


Young
Older


Young
Older


Young
Older


Young
Older



Young
Older


8.71
7.58


15.17
21.38

7.42
6.75


5.17
5.04


2.58
1.13

3.38
3.21


1.31
2.42



0.29
1.13


1.16
1.41


3.14
2.18

0.97
1.51


1.4
1.3


1.69
0.85

2.08
1.67


1.23
2.06



0.86
1.45


Forward digit span**



Backward digit span



Hours~~~~~~~ p d se wii (a

Hours per day spent writing (max


10)*



10)


Hours per day spent watching TV (max = 10)*



Hours per day spent doing crossword puzzles (max
10)*



*indicates p < .05 **indicates p < .10










Table 2-3. Young adults' goal preferences for episodic and procedural topics.
Young adults'
goal
preference
Goal pairs Episodic Procedural
Clarity-interest Interest Clarity
Fascinating-focus Fascinating Focus
Comprehensible-elaborative Elaborative Comprehensible
Entertaining-simple Entertaining Simple
Logical-stimulating No preference Logical
Educational-obj ective Educational Obj ective



Table 2-4. Older adults' goal preferences for episodic and procedural topics.
Older adults'
goal
preference
Goal Pairs Episodic Procedural
Clarity-interest No preference No preference
Fascinating-focus No preference No preference
C omprehen sible- el aborative Comprehensible Comprehensible
Entertaining-simple Entertaining Entertaining
Logical-stimulating No preference Logical
Educational-obj ective Educational Educational


Table 2-5. Clarity-interest by speaker age group and topic type.
Speaker age group Topic type Mean Standard deviation
Young


Episodic
Procedural


Epi sodic
Procedural


5.71
2.04

4.40
3.77


0.87
0.77

1.76
1.82


Older










Table 2-6. Fascinating-focus
Speaker age group
Young


by speaker age group and topic type.
Topic type Mean Standard deviation


Epi sodic
Procedural


Episodic
Procedural


2.5
5.73


1.07
1.03


Older


3.6 1.96
4.31 1.87


Table 2-7. Comprehensible-elaborative by speaker age group and topic type.
Speaker age group Topic type Mean Standard deviation
Young


Epi sodic
Procedural


Epi sodic
Procedural


4.79
2.15

2.69
2.6


1.4
0.87

1.67
1.6


Older


Table 2-8. Entertaining-simple by speaker age group and topic type.
Speaker age group Topic type Mean Standard deviation
Young


Episodic
Procedural


Epi sodic
Procedural


1.71 0.8
5.1 1.35


Older


2.58
3.23


1.36
1.82










Table 2-9. Logical-stimulating by speaker age group and topic type.
Speaker age group Topic type Mean Standard deviation
Young
Episodic 4.38 1.67
Procedural 1.96 0.83
Older
Episodic 3.65 1.66
Procedural 3.06 1.57




Table 2-10. Educational-objective by speaker age group and topic type.
Speaker age group Topic type Mean Standard deviation
Young
Episodic 2.71 1.08
Procedural 4.52 1.65
Older
Episodic 3.21 1.64
Procedural 3.48 1.86






Table 2-11i. Mean number of words by speaker age group, topic type, and instructions.
Speaker age group Topic type Instructions Mean number of words Standard deviation
Young Episodic No instructions 288 211
Alter instructions 149 93
Procedural No instructions 155 96
Alter instructions 292 162
Older Episodic No instructions 472 299
Alter instructions 278 158
Procedural No instructions 347 291
Alter instructions 378 203




























1


I


Young Speakers


Older Speakers


Speaker Age


Figure 2-1. Clarity and interest as a function of topic type by young and older adults.


T-

7


V -

;a
e3


u..1


aEpisodic Narratives
m Procedural Narratives


I


Young Speakers


Older Speakers


Speaker Age


Figure 2-2. Fascinating and focus as a function of topic type by young and older adults.


m Episodic Narratives
a Procedural Narratives























































I


.. T
-


Lu 4


SEpisodic Narratives
m Procedural Narratives


Young Speakers


Older Speakers


Speaker Age


Figure 2-3. Comprehensible and elaborative as a function of topic type by young and older
adults .


T-




tu


V -


m Episodic Narratives
m Procedural Narratives


Young Speakers


Older Speakers


Speaker Age


Figure 2-4. Entertaining and simple as a function of topic type by young and older adults.


















































I


..
-


E


41-


-1


SEpisodic Narratives
m Procedural Narratives


Young Speakers


Older Speakers


Speaker Age

Figure 2-5. Logical and stimulating as a function of topic type by young and older adults.


T-







a4
-



Lu

1-


aEpisodic Narratives
m Procedural Narratives


Young Speakers


Older Speakers


Speaker Age


Figure 2-6. Educational and obj ective as a function of topic type by young and older adults.











450
400-
350-


S250 a INo Instructions
S200 -1 m Alter Instructions
S150
100-

50

Episodic Narratives Procedural Narratives
Topic Type

Figure 2-7. Mean number of words spoken averaged across speaker age group.









CHAPTER 3
EXPERIMENT 2

Purpose

Experiment 2 was designed to shed light on young and older adults' ability to utilize

specific speech styles that (1) met communicative goals of primary value to both age groups, and

(2) met goals that were specified for them. This assessment was made by obtaining ratings on the

transcribed narratives given in Experiment 1 from a different group of young and older

participants who served as listeners. The pragmatic change hypothesis maintains that age-related

differences in speech styles are a function of differing communicative goals held by young and

older adults. Thus, if young and older adults have a common goal, then they should be equally

capable of selecting a speech style to match that goal. In contrast, the inhibitory deficit

hypothesis suggests that age differences in speech styles are a function of older adults' inability

to inhibit irrelevant information. Thus, meeting communicative goals that require inhibition of

information would be more difficult for older adults, as they would be distracted by extraneous

thoughts and topics not relevant to the goal of interest.

The present study analyzed whether young or older adults were better at meeting two of

their primary goals, one for episodic topics and one for procedural topics. The pilot study and

Experiment 1 revealed young and older adults' top three goals for both topic types, one of which

they had in common for each topic. Both age groups cited elaborativeness as one of their top

three goals for episodic topics, and clarity as one of their top three goals for procedural topics.

According to the pragmatic change hypothesis, young and older adults select speech styles based

on their goals, so there should be no age differences in speech styles for the goals they hold in

common. In contrast, the inhibitory deficit hypothesis predicts that young adults would be better

than older adults at meeting the goal of clarity, as the clarity of older adults' speech would be










compromised by their inability to inhibit irrelevant information. In contrast, for elaborativeness,

the inhibitory deficit hypothesis predicts that older adults would be better at meeting this goal

than young adults, as older adults' speech would already be elaborative as a result of their

inhibition deficit, and adding the goal of being elaborative would only further enhance the

elaborativeness of their speech.

Altering speech styles to fit a communicative goal that was contrary to their own goals was

expected to be more difficult for older adults than young adults, according to the inhibitory

deficit hypothesis. Older adults' increased difficulty with inhibition would make the task of

altering goals more difficult because they would need to inhibit an automatic process (e.g.

speaking using natural goals) in order to successfully use alternative goals. Older adults have had

more time to develop and use their own goals, which may have become more automatic with

practice and experience, making their natural speech more difficult to inhibit. Contrary to

predictions of meeting older adults' own goals, these inhibition difficulties were expected to

occur independent of topic because the inhibition of natural speech was required for both

episodic and procedural narratives. The pragmatic change hypothesis does not offer any age-

related predictions with respect to altering communicative goals on cue, as it assumes that young

and older adults use their own goals to select a speech style appropriate to the discourse they

mean to convey.

Method

Participants

Participants included 30 young adults, consisting of 20 females and 10 males (18-21 years;

M~= 18.9, SD = 0.8) and 30 older adults, consisting of 17 females and 13 males (75-87 years; M\~

= 74.3, SD = 5.6). Young and older adults were recruited and compensated in a manner similar to










that of Experiment 1. Participants were screened for normal or corrected-to-normal vision and

hearing.

Background variables, including years of schooling, health, and self-ratings of time spent

writing, reading, watching TV, and doing crossword puzzles, were assessed on all participants.

Means and standard deviation scores for the background variables are shown in Table 3-1. Older

adults reported more years of schooling, t(58) = -5.67, p < .01, than young adults. Young adults

spent more time per day writing than older adults, t(58) = 4.24, p < .01. There were no age

differences on health, or number of hours spent reading, watching TV, and doing crossword

puzzles, ps > .17.

Materials

The verbatim transcripts of all spoken narratives produced by the 24 young and 24 older

adults in Experiment 1 (two episodic and two procedural topics per participant) were read by a

female young adult experimenter and recorded on a SONY Digital Voice Recorder. The

narratives were recorded in a normal speaking voice, and the experimenter read the narratives as

if she were reading a story aloud to another person. Disfluencies, stuttering repetitions, and

comments given after the story was completed (e.g., "That' s the end of my story", "I'm done")

were eliminated. Recorded sets of transcripts were assigned to rater groups, such that each rater

group rated 32 narratives, sixteen from four young speakers (2 episodic and 2 procedural per

speaker) and sixteen from four older speakers (2 episodic and 2 procedural per speaker). This

assignment process yielded six separate rater groups each composed of ten raters, five young and

five older adults. Transcripts were assigned to rater groups such that the six sets of transcripts

were as similar in length (number of words) as possible within each rater group. Table 3-2 shows

the mean number of words for each set.









Booklets containing 32 pages, one page for each narrative in a set, were created. On each

page, there were 12 goals, five of which were deemed experimental for the purposes of this

experiment. The experimental goals were related to the hypotheses of looking at OTS and

included the following: (a) clarity, (b) elaborativeness, (c) talkativeness, (d) focus, and (e)

logical. To the right of each dimension was a 7-point scale ranging from 1 (not at all) to 7

(completely). The other seven goals were fillers, as they were not relevant to the experimental

questions and were therefore not analyzed. A sample booklet page containing the Hyve

experimental goals and seven filler goals is shown in Appendix C.

Procedure

Participants were tested in groups of Hyve, and they took approximately two hours to

complete the ratings. The experimenter informed participants that the study was investigating

what makes a good story, and that they would hear 32 recorded transcripts of narratives told by

real people that had been transcribed and re-recorded by the experimenter. Participants were not

told whether a young or an older adult was the original speaker of each recorded transcript.

Participants were told to evaluate the narratives on a variety of dimensions, which were defined

and explained by the experimenter. The experimenter also emphasized that the participants

should not base their judgments on the narratives solely on the length of the narrative; both long

and short stories could be ranked high or low on any of the dimensions. Participants wrote the

number of the story they were rating (e.g., 1 32) on the top of each page of the booklet.

Narratives were presented by alternating young and older speakers' narratives in the same order

they were collected in Experiment 1, such that that the order of topic type and the specific topic

within topic type were counterbalanced across listeners. The experimenter gave participants as

much time as they needed to fill out the ratings and waited until everyone was finished rating a

particular narrative before playing the next narrative.












Meeting Goals

To investigate the question of whether young or older adults were more successful in

meeting their shared primary goals, raters' assessments of clarity (the common goal for

procedural topics) and elaborativeness (the common goal for episodic topics) were analyzed.

Independent variables were rater age group (young, older), speaker age group (young, older), and

topic type (episodic, procedural), and only narratives with no instructions to alter goals were

included in these analyses, to capture the effectiveness of meeting one' s own goals. Rater age

group was a between-subj ects variable, whereas speaker age group and topic type were within-

subj ects variables. Larger numbers on the rating scale indicated a higher rating of the dimension

(i.e., clearer, more elaborative, etc.) The mean ratings for clarity and elaborativeness by speaker

age group and topic type are shown by young raters in Table 3-3 and by older raters in Table 3-4.

Clarity. There was a main effect of speaker age group, F(1,59) = 8.06, M~SE = 0.32, p <

.01, qualified by an interaction. As shown in Figure 3-1, there was a Speaker Age Group x Topic

Type interaction, F(1,59) = 6. 18, M~SE = 0.24, p < .02, because for episodic topics, young and

older speakers were rated equivalently on clarity, F < 1, whereas for procedural topics, young

speakers were clearer than older speakers, F(1,59) = 15,29, M~SE = 0.26, p < .01. Young speakers

were rated as clearer on procedural topics than episodic topics, F(1,59) = 5, 18, M~SE = 0.30, p <

.03, whereas older speakers were rated equivalently on clarity for episodic and procedural topics,

F < 1. No other effects were significant, ps > .35.

Elaborativeness. There was a main effect of speaker age group, F(1,58) = 14.72, M~SE =

0. 19, p < .01, because older speakers were more elaborative than young speakers, and a

marginally significant main effect of topic type, F(1,58) = 3.3 8, M~SE = 1.30, p < .07, where


Results










episodic topics were marginally more elaborative than procedural topics. No other effects were

significant, ps > .17.

Altering Goals

Dimensions including talkativeness and elaborativeness were analyzed to address the

question of whether young and older adults were capable of altering their communicative goals

to become more concise for episodic topics and more elaborative for procedural topics.

Following instructions to alter goals, higher ratings on talkativeness and lower ratings on

elaborativeness (relative to no instructions) would indicate that speakers successfully altered

their goals. Variables of interest for these questions included rater age group (young, older),

speaker age group (young, older), topic type (episodic, procedural), and instructions (no

instructions, instructions to alter goals). Rater age group was a between-subj ects variable,

whereas speaker age group, topic type, and instructions were within-subjects variables.

The mean ratings for talkativeness and elaborativeness by speaker age group, topic type,

and instructions are shown by young raters in Table 3-5 and by older raters in Table 3-6.

Talkativeness. The main effect of rater age group was significant, F(1,58) = 7.71, M~SE =

5.39, p < .01, with older adult raters assigning higher ratings than young adult raters. Significant

main effects of speaker age group, F(1,58) = 28.13, M~SE = 0.55, p < .01, and instructions, F(1,

58) = 5.05, M~SE = 0. 18, p < .03, occurred but were qualified by a Speaker Age Group x Topic

Type x Instructions interaction (see figures 3-2 and 3-3), F(1,58) = 20.50, M~SE = 0.37, p < .01.

For episodic topics without instructions to alter goals, older speakers were rated as marginally

more talkative than young adults, F(1,59) = 3.13, M~SE = 0.3 5, p < .08, whereas for procedural

topics without instructions to alter goals, older speakers were perceived as significantly more

talkative than young speakers, F(1,59) = 14.69, M~SE = 0.49 p < .01. When given instructions to

alter goals, older speakers were more talkative than young speakers for episodic topics, F(1,59)










32.04, M~SE = 0.50, p < .01, but young and older speakers were equivalently talkative for

procedural topics, F < 1. Comparing the different instructions, young speakers were rated as

more talkative for episodic topics with no instructions than with instructions to alter goals,

F(1,59) = 55.29, M~SE = 0.43, p < .01, whereas they were more talkative for procedural narratives

with instructions to alter goals than with no instructions, F(1,59) = 31.47, M~SE = 0.44, p < .01.

Similarly, older adults were more talkative for episodic topics with no instructions than with

instructions to alter goals (but to a lesser extent than young adults), F(1,59) = 9.77, M~SE = 0.37,

p < .01, and they were only marginally more talkative for procedural narratives with instructions

to alter goals than with no instructions, F(1,59) = 3.76, M~SE = 0.36, p < .06. Comparing topics,

both young speakers, F(1,59) = 29.61, M~SE = 0.47, p < .01, and older speakers, F(1,59) = 15.56,

M~SE = 0.28, p < .01, were more talkative on episodic topics than procedural topics with no

instructions to alter goals. However, whereas young adults showed the opposite pattern from no

instructions to alter goals when given instructions to alter goals, F(1,59) = 47.07, M~SE = 0.50, p

< .01, older adults were similarly talkative on episodic and procedural topics with instructions to

alter goals, F(1,59) = 2.34, M~SE = 0.41, p > .13. No other effects were significant, ps > .12.

Elaborativeness. There were main effects of speaker age group, F(1,58) = 30.88, M~SE =

0.64, p < .01, topic type, F(1,58) = 12.61, M~SE = 0.63, p < .01, and instructions, F(1,58) = 8. 14,

M~SE = 0.44, p < .01, qualified by a Speaker Age Group x Topic Type x Instructions interaction,

F(1,58) = 23.04, M~SE = 0.56, p < .01 (see Figures 3-4 and 3-5). For episodic topics, older

speakers were rated as more elaborative than young speakers with no instructions to alter goals,

F(1,59) = 6.87, M~SE = 0.50, p < .01, and even more so with instructions to alter goals, F(1,59) =

49.89, M~SE = 0.56, p < .01. For procedural topics with no instructions to alter goals, older

speakers were also more elaborative than young speakers, F(1,59) = 10.60, M~SE = 0.70, p < .01,










whereas for procedural topics with instructions to alter goals, young and older speakers were

similarly elaborative, F(1,59) = 2.60, M~SE = 0.39, p > .11. Comparing different types of

instructions, young speakers were more elaborative on episodic topics with no instructions than

with instructions to alter goals, F(1,59) = 48.65, M~SE = 0.54, p < .01, as were older speakers but

to a lesser extent, F(1,59) = 5.41, M~SE = 0.53, p < .02. In contrast, young speakers were more

elaborative on procedural topics with instructions than with no instructions to alter goals, F(1,59)

= 22.36, M~SE = 0.52, p < .01, whereas older speakers were equivalently elaborative on

procedural topics with and without instructions to alter goals, F < 1. Comparing topics, for

narratives with no instructions to alter goals, young adults were marginally more elaborative for

episodic topics than for procedural topics, F(1,59) = 3.63, M~SE = 0.62, p < .06, whereas older

adults were rated equivalent on elaborativeness for both topic types, F < 1. In contrast, for

narratives with instructions to alter goals, young speakers were more elaborative for procedural

topics than episodic topics, F(1,59) = 99.99, M~SE = 0.49, p < .01, whereas older adults were

rated equivalent on elaborativeness for both topic types, F(1,59) = 1.00, M~SE = 0.53, p > .31. No

other main effects or interactions were significant, ps > .26.

OTS

To address OTS, dimensions including focus and logical were analyzed, using Arbuckle et

al.'s (1993) definition of OTS as lack of focus and coherence. Lower ratings on focus and logical

would therefore indicate more OTS. Variables of interest for these questions included rater age

group (young, older), speaker age group (young, older), topic type (episodic, procedural), and

instructions (no instructions, instructions to alter goals). Instructions was included as a variable

of interest to explore whether OTS becomes more apparent when using goals other than one's

own. Rater age group was a between-subj ects variable, whereas speaker age group, topic type,

and instructions were within-subj ects variables. The mean ratings for focus and logical by










speaker age group, topic type, and instructions are shown by young raters in Table 3-7 and by

older raters in Table 3-8.

Focus. There was a main effect of speaker age group, F(1,58) = 9.81, M~SE=-0.73, p < .01,

which was qualified by an interaction. As shown in Figure 3-6, speaker age group interacted with

topic type, F(1,58) = 9.99, M~SE = 0.36, p < .01, because young and older speakers were

equivalently rated on focus for episodic topics, F < 1, whereas young speakers were seen as more

focused than older adults for procedural topics, F(1,59) = 25.68, M~SE = 0.23, p < .01. Within

each age group, young speakers were rated as more focused for procedural topics than episodic

topics, F(1,59) = 4.68, M~SE = 0.33, p < .04, whereas older speakers' focus was equivalent for

episodic and procedural topics, F(1,59) = 2.45, M~SE = 0.23, p > .12. No other main effects or

interactions were significant, p > .10.

Logical. There was a marginally significant main effect of instructions, F(1,5 8) = 2.85,

M~SE = 0.32, p < .09, qualified by an interaction. There was a Speaker Age Group x Instructions

x Rater Age Group interaction, F(1,58) = 4.51, M~SE = 0.34, p < .04. For narratives with no

instructions to alter goals, young raters equivalently rated young and older speakers as logical

(i.e., sensible and coherent), F < 1, as did older raters, F(1,29) = 1.10, M~SE = 0.34, p > .30. In

contrast, for narratives with instructions to alter goals, young raters rated young speakers' stories

as more logical than older speakers, F(1,29) = 4.73, M~SE = 0. 17, p < .04, whereas older raters

rated young and older speakers similarly, F < 1. When comparing the rater groups, young and

older raters gave equivalent logical ratings to young speakers, F < 1, and to older speakers, F <

1, on narratives with no instructions to alter goals. Similarly, for narratives with instructions to

alter goals, young speakers' stories were rated equivalently logical by young and older raters,










F(1,59) = 1.12, M~SE = 1.04, p > .29, and so were older speakers, F < 1. No other main effects or

interactions were significant, ps > .14.

Discussion

The results of the present study shed light on young and older adults' ability to meet as

well as alter their communicative goals. No age differences were predicted in the ability to meet

goals that were of primary importance to both young and older adults; however, this prediction

was not supported, as age differences emerged for both topics: Older adults were better at

meeting the goal of elaborativeness for episodic topics, whereas young adults were better at

meeting the goal of clarity for procedural topics. Older adults were also predicted to have greater

difficulty with altering their natural goals to meet a new goal, and the results support this

prediction. Although older adults were capable of accepting new goals for both episodic and

procedural topics, they were less successful in doing so than young adults.

Age differences in the ability to meet their own goals, when the same goals were valued by

both young and older adults, were found in the present study. For procedural topics, young adults

were better at meeting the goal of clarity than older adults, a goal which both age groups

considered of primary value. The inhibitory deficit hypothesis predicted this result as a function

of older adults' inability to inhibit irrelevant information, thereby making their narratives less

clear than young adults (e.g., Arbuckle & Gold, 1993; Stoltzfus et al., 1996; Zacks & Hasher,

1994). An alternative explanation is that older adults' valuing of multiple goals (i.e., clarity and

interest for procedural topics) may have compromised their ability to meet the goal of clarity to

the same extent as young adults, who favored clarity over interest for procedural topics. In this

perspective, older adults do not necessarily have an inhibition deficit, but rather they may include

more information in their procedural topics based on other goals that they hold, making their

narratives less clear.









The opposite pattern emerged for episodic topics, where older adults were better than

young adults at meeting their shared goal of elaborativeness. The inhibitory deficit hypothesis

suggests that this finding is a result of older adults' inability to inhibit extraneous information,

thereby making their narratives more elaborative. However, young and older adults were rated as

clear equivalently on episodic topics. This finding suggests that older adults were not simply

inserting irrelevant information into their narratives, which would make their narratives unclear,

but rather they were meeting their goal of elaborativeness by inserting information appropriate to

the topic while remaining clear and easy to follow. The results also imply that there may be less

stringent criteria for what constitutes unclear information on episodic topics, because more

details are expected to be produced on these types of narratives.

The results for both episodic and procedural topics were in contrast to the pragmatic

change hypothesis, which maintains that young and older adults' speech styles should be similar

if they have common goals (e.g., Giles & Coupland, 1991; Hymes, 1972; Labov, 1969).

However, age differences could be due to the fact that although young and older adults shared a

primary goal, they did not necessarily share all of their other goals for either topic. For example,

as described above, the ability to meet clarity to the same extent as young adults for procedural

topics may have been compromised by older adults' desire to also tell an interesting and

fascinating narrative, whereas young adults favored telling a focused and clear narrative.

In assessing young and older adults' ability to alter their original communicative goals,

speakers were told to be concise for episodic topics and to be elaborative for procedural topics.

The ability to meet these goals was assessed by talkativeness and elaborativeness ratings on

narratives with and without instructions to alter goals. As predicted by the inhibitory deficit

hypothesis, young adults were better than older adults at altering their goals to become more









concise, although both groups successfully altered their speech styles. Older adults' ability to

become less talkative and less elaborative on episodic topics when instructed to become concise

suggests that their inhibition process is efficient enough to select a speech style suited for the

goal they were told to emphasize. However, since they were not as proficient at this task as

young adults, older adults may have had more difficulty inhibiting their primary goal of wanting

to be elaborative and detailed, or they may simply not have wanted to eliminate too many details

because of the value they place on reminiscing and telling personal narratives (e.g., Boden &

Bielby, 1983; Coupland & Coupland, 1995).

For procedural topics, young adults were again successful in altering their goals to become

more elaborative, both in terms of ratings of talkativeness and elaborativenesss. However, older

adults were not viewed as more elaborative for procedural topics following instructions to alter

their goals, and they were rated as only marginally more talkative. In contrast to episodic topics,

these Eindings suggest that older adults were not successful at taking on new goals of being more

elaborative and detailed for procedural topics. There are several potential explanations for this

finding. Older adults may have had a clearer idea about the appropriate amount of details to

include for procedural topics than young adults, and they did not want to violate this basic rule.

Another reason for the results could be that older adults may have already included all the details

in their procedural narratives using their natural goals, and therefore further elaboration was

more difficult for them than for young adults, who were less elaborative than older adults when

using their own goals. Finally, the idea of adding additional details to their narratives may have

caused discomfort in older adults, as they may have recognized their potential for being

perceived as off-topic in certain situations and did not want to encourage that view.









These findings suggest that communicative goals can be under conscious control and

altered at will (e.g., Boden & Bielby, 1983; Giles & Coupland, 1991), implying that speech

styles are selected based on a conscious awareness of the type of discourse that young and older

adults plan to produce. Whether older adults were less proficient at altering their goals relative to

young adults because they were having more difficulty with inhibiting their natural goals, or

whether they simply felt compelled to meet their primary goals cannot be teased apart in the

present data.

The present experiment also addressed OTS, both in terms of amount produced with

natural goals and with altered goals. When using their own goals, young and older adults were

equivalently focused and logical (defined as sensible and coherent) for episodic topics,

suggesting that OTS was not more pronounced for older than young speakers. In contrast for

procedural topics, young adults' narratives were rated as more focused than older adults'

narratives (but no less logical), which is consistent with increased OTS for older speakers. Age-

related differences in communicative goals may explain these findings. Young adults' goals were

aimed at producing an expressive speech style for episodic topics, while older adults' goals were

a mixture between goals suited for an expressive and an obj ective speech style. Previous research

has shown that age differences in OTS are typically found for narratives where the speakers'

autobiographical experience is relevant (e.g., James et al., 1998). Young adults were consciously

trying to be more expressive, which could have boosted their level of OTS to be equivalent to

that of older adults. The goals held by young and older adults also suggest that older adults may

have viewed autobiographical information as being more relevant to the procedural topics than

young adults. Young adults' goals reflected a preference for a more obj ective speech style for

procedural topics, suggesting that they found autobiographical reminiscing irrelevant to the









description of a daily routine. Therefore, as a result of young and older adults' different

communicative goals held for procedural topics, older adults produced speech that was relatively

higher in OTS than young adults.

According to previous research, older adults' speech has more OTS than young adults,

(e.g., Arbuckle & Gold, 1993, Gold et al., 1988; Gold et al., 1994) because of an age-related

decline in an inhibition process needed to suppress irrelevant information (e.g., Arbuckle &

Gold, 1993; Hasher & Zacks, 1988; Stoltzfus et al., 1996; West, 1996; Zacks & Hasher, 1994).

Therefore, more OTS might be expected for altered goals (e.g., when the inhibition of

natural goals is needed to succeed on the task). When meeting new goals, the same pattern of

results was found as when one's own goals were used, with the exception that older adults were

perceived as less logical than young adults by young raters only, for both episodic and

procedural topics. Both young and older adults' narratives were as focused for their new goals as

they were when using their natural goals, suggesting that staying on topic was not problematic

for either age group. However, altering natural goals may have changed older adults' speech

style just enough for young raters to consider it less logical, whereas older raters did not detect

this difference, suggesting that young raters' criteria for coherent narratives is more stringent

than that of older adults. This difference in criteria fits with the results of James et al. (1988),

where young, but not old, raters viewed young speakers as being more focused than older

speakers.

The results of the present study may contradict previous research because OTS was

assessed via listener ratings of dimensions thought to make up OTS, whereas previous research

has defined OTS using categorizations imposed by experimenters, which are subj ect to

experimenter biases (e.g., Arbuckle & Gold, 1993; Gold et al., 1994; Glosser & Deser, 1992;









James et al., 1998; Juncos-Rabadan, 1996). OTS in previous research has typically been

categorized in terms of number of words that were off-topic, and what constituted words that

were off-topic was ultimately left up to the experimenter (e.g., Arbuckle & Gold, 1993; James et

al., 1998). In contrast, the present study looked at OTS from the listeners' perspective in terms of

how on-topic and coherent they felt the speakers' narratives were. This assessment of OTS is

advantageous because it takes the whole narrative into account when judging how focused and

coherent a speaker was, rather than separately examining each sentence of the story for off-topic

speech, without knowing how it might tie in to something relevant later in the narrative.

It is worth noting that the age of the raters had little effect on the results of the present

study, consistent with previous research (e.g., James et al., 1998). This finding suggests that the

criteria held by raters for the different goal dimensions changes very little across the lifespan.

There may be a relatively standard way for assessing what makes a story high or low on different

dimensions, and this standard is similar across different ages. These results suggest that future

research does not necessarily need both young and older raters to assess story quality, as their

assessments are remarkably similar on multiple dimensions.

Summary. Overall, the results of the present study provided interesting patterns of age

differences in terms of meeting and altering goals and also in terms of capturing OTS from a new

perspective. With respect to meeting goals, the inhibitory deficit hypothesis was supported as

young adults more effectively met the goal of clarity than older adults for procedural topics,

whereas older adults more effectively met the goal of elaborativeness for episodic topics. The

inhibitory deficit hypothesis was also supported in terms of young and older adults' ability to

alter their goals. Young adults proved more successful than older adults at altering their natural

goals to meet new ones. However, the reason that older adults were less successful than young









adults in altering their goals is not necessarily due to an inhibition deficit. The results could be

due to a weaker inhibition process, a stronger desire for older adults' to meet their natural goals,

or a combination of both explanations.

However, the inhibitory deficit hypothesis was not supported with respect to its predictions

about OTS. Age differences in OTS were only found for procedural topics. Episodic topics may

not have yielded any age differences in OTS because young adults' communicative goals for

episodic topics were almost exclusively favoring an expressive speech style, whereas older

adults' goals were more mixed between an expressive and obj ective speech style. The age

differences in OTS for procedural topics may have been a result of older adults' desire to

enhance the autobiographical aspect of the topics, whereas young adults pursued the topic in a

more obj ective way, as indicated by their communicative goals, similar to the way they might

describe a picture (e.g., James et al., 1998).

The following chapter will provide an overall summary of both studies and discuss

limitations of the present research as well as new directions for future research.






















































M
1082
999
855
879
896
917


SD
874
637.6
347.8
340.7
342.6
298.6


M
1523
1527
1514
1521
1549
1501


SD
1314.5
992.5
901.1
879.4
616.4
464.2


Table 3-1. Means and standard deviations for background variables in Experiment 2.


Variable
Years of schooling*


Speaker age
Young
Older


Mean
13.4
17.02


Standard deviation
1.07
3.32


Health rating (max = 10)



Hours per day spent writing (max



Hours per day spent reading (max


Young
Older


Young
Older


Young
Older


Young
Older



Young
Older


7.97
8.23

2.55
1.04

2.97
2.64

2.24
2.81


1.54
1.28

1.7
0.84

1.55
1.37

2.13
1.84



0.68
1.07


10)*


Hours per day spent watching TV (max = 10)



Hours per day spent doing crossword puzzles (max
10)


0.21
0.54


* indicates p < .05




Table 3-2. Characteristics of the six sets of transcripts in Experiment 2.
Mean
no.
words


Young speakers


Older speakers










Table 3-3. Young and older speakers on clarity and elaborativeness by young raters in
Experiment 2.

Episodic Procedural
Young Older Young Older

Dimension M SD M SD M SD M SD

Clarity
4.15 0.92 4.14 0.77 4.47 0.81 4.08 0.78

Elaborativeness
4.06 0.86 4.43 0.87 3.61 1.16 4.19 1.04





Table 3-4. Young and older speakers on clarity and elaborativeness by older raters in Experiment


Episodic Procedural
Young Older Young Older

Dimension M SD M SD M SD M SD

Clarity
4.34 0.90 4.25 0.96 4.48 0.92 4.14 1.09

Elaborativeness
4.14 1.14 4.45 0.96 4.04 1.45 4.46 1.12





Table 3-5. Young and older speakers on talkativeness and elaborativeness by young raters in
Experiment 2.


Episodic
Young Older

M SD M SD


Procedural
Young Older

M SD M SD


Dimension

Talkativeness


Instructions


None

Alter


4.28 0.73

3.39 1.03


4.06 0.86

3.23 0.73


4.73 0.89

4.19 1.11


4.43 0.87

4.13 1.16


3.54 0.92

4.41 0.91


3.61 1.16

4.38 0.91


4.13 0.91

4.42 0.94


4.19 1.04

4.08 0.89


Elaborativeness


None

Alter


Table 3-6. Young and older speakers on talkativeness and elaborativeness by older raters in
Experiment 2.


E
Young

oitcurtsnI ns M SD


pisodic
Older

M SD


Procedural
Older

D M SD


Young

M S1


Dimension

Talkativeness


None

Alter


5.01 0.92

4.13 1.27


4.14 1.14

3.09 1.15


4.94

4.79


4.45

4.13


1.06

1.01


0.96

1.11


4.38 1.24

4.88 0.97


4.04 1.45

4.51 1.30


4.78 1.03

4.92 1.09


4.46 1.12

4.45 1.16


Elaborativeness

None

Alter










Table 3-7. Young and older speakers on focus and logical by young raters in Experiment 2.

Episodic Procedural
Young Older Young Older

Dimension Instructions M SD M SD M SD M SD

Focus

None 4.20 0.99 4.12 1.05 4.77 1.06 4.25 0.77

Alter 4.59 1.06 4.50 0.89 4.72 0.97 4.18 0.85

Logical
None 3.86 0.82 3.94 0.93 4.16 1.20 4.02 0.87

Alter 4.17 1.14 4.13 1.02 4.11 1.08 3.68 0.92






Table 3-8. Young and older speakers on focus and logical by older raters in Experiment 2.

Episodic Procedural
Young Older Young Older

Dimension Instructions M SD M SD M SD M SD

Focus

None 4.73 0.96 4.42 1.20 4.81 1.13 4.37 1.22

Alter 4.45 1.36 4.63 1.12 4.58 1.34 4.32 1.28

Logical
None 4.18 0.94 3.94 1.22 4.19 1.05 4.11 1.23

Alter 3.82 1.19 4.06 1.01 3.90 1.20 3.83 1.02











Clarity



75


on mYoung Speakers
*: Older Speakers




Episodic Topics Procedural Topics
Topic Type
Figure 3-1. Clarity for the Speaker Age Group x Topic Type interaction. Range: 1 = not at all; 7
= completely.





I


Episodic Narratives


1-


No Instructions
MAlter In structi on s


Speaker Age


Young Speakers


Older Speakers


Figure 3-2. Episodic Topics: Talkativeness for the Speaker
Instructions interaction. Range: 1 = not at all; 7 I














Prcedural Narratives


Age Group x Topic Type x
= completely.


Fa


m No Instructions
m Alter Instructions


I


I


Young Speakers


Older Speakers


Speaker Age



Figure 3-3. Procedural topics: Talkativeness for the Speaker Age Group x Topic Type x
Instructions interaction. Range: 1 = not at all; 7 = completely.















T-
7





ea4


a No Instructions
M Alter Instructions


Young Speakers


Older Speakers


Speaker Age

Figure 3-4. Episodic topics: Elaborativeness for the Speaker
Instructions interaction. Range: 1 = not at all; 7 =


Age Group x Topic Type x
compl etely.


a 4


-

1-


a No Instructions
MAlter Instructions


Young Speakers


Older Speakers


Speaker Age

Figure 3-5. Procedural topics: Elaborativeness for the Speaker Age Group x Topic Type x
Instructions interaction. Range: 1 = not at all; 7 = completely.


Episodic Narratives


Prcedural Narratives













7











Episodic Narrative Procedural Narrative
Topic Type

Figure 3-6. Focus for the Speaker Age Group x Topic Type interaction. Range: 1 = not at all; 7
compl etely.









CHAPTER 4
DISCUSSION

The results of my studies provide empirical evidence to support previous research, which

claims that young and older adults' speech styles differ as a function of their communicative

goals (Giles et al., 1991; Hymes, 1972; Labov, 1969), and that these goals can shape the style of

discourse a person may choose to utilize in different contexts (Hummert, 1994; Kemper, 1994;

Ryan et al., 1986). My studies quantified young and older adults' communicative goals, which

differed as a function of the type of autobiographical narratives they intended to tell. In addition,

young and older adults demonstrated differential capabilities for meeting as well as altering their

goals, i.e., using goals that were not their own.

Hypothesis 1 of the present study addressed the question of whether young and older

adults' communicative goals differed as a function of age and topic type. The results of

Experiment 1 suggest that young adults' communicative goals were shaped by the topic of

discourse more so than older adults, who selected almost identical goals for both topic types.

Furthermore, older adults consistently favored a more comprehensive set of communicative

goals than did young adults, regardless of the topic of discourse that they planned to produce.

This research extends the predictions of the pragmatic change hypothesis by suggesting that not

only do young and older adults' communicative goals differ, but age-related differences in

speech styles may also be a function of older adults' relatively comprehensive goals. Older

adults may hold more communicative goals than young adults because the variety of goals they

hold enable them to tell more enj oyable stories than young adults (e.g., Ryan et al., 1992;

Kemper et al., 1990) as well as more interesting, informative, and higher-quality stories (e.g.,

James et al., 1998). Older adults may recognize the value of holding multifaceted goals as a

result of their increased experience and practice with telling stories, relative to young adults, who










may still be developing their communicative goals and story-telling skills (e.g., Boden & Bielby,

1983; Kemper, 1992).

The different pattern of results found for young and older adults' selection of goals

provides evidence for the pragmatic change hypothesis, which states that young and older adults

hold different goals, which in turn results in the use of different speech styles. There are several

possible explanations for why older adults have different communicative goals than young

adults. One is that through years of practice and experience, older adults are more confident

about their communicative goals, and rather than tailoring their goals to the specific topic of

conversation, they prefer to adapt the discourse topic to fit their communicative goals, which are

well-engrained, easy to invoke, and typically lead to high-quality stories. This explanation is

supported by older adults' superior story telling ability, (e.g., James et al., 1998; Kemper et al.,

1989; Kemper et al., 1990; Prat et al., 1991), which indicates that older adults know which goals

make for a good story, and therefore choose to utilize these goals across multiple discourse

topics. Another explanation is that selecting goals on the basis of topic is an extra burden placed

on working memory during speech production, so older adults default to a single set of goals to

allow them capacity to focus on the content of what is to be recalled (e.g., Stoltzfus et al., 1996;

Zacks & Hasher, 1994). However, if older adults use only one set of goals, then their speech

styles should be identical for all types of discourse, but previous research has contradicted this

claim (e.g., James et al., 1998).

Hypothesis 2 of my study was concerned with age differences in the ability to meet goals

that were of primary value to both young and older adults, and this hypothesis was addressed in

Experiment 2. Young and older adults both reported clarity as one of their primary goals for

procedural topics, and the results showed that young adults were better at meeting this goal than









older adults. This finding was consistent with the inhibitory deficit hypothesis, which maintains

that older adults cannot inhibit irrelevant information from being produced, which in turn

sacrifices the clarity of their narratives (e.g., Arbuckle & Gold, 1993; Stoltzfus et al., 1996;

Zacks & Hasher, 1994). However, this explanation cannot explain why older adults' narratives

were as clear as young adults' narratives for episodic topics. Perhaps young adults' superior

ability to produce a clear narrative for procedural topics is a function of older adults' more

comprehensive set of goals. Older adults may tell a narrative that is not quite as clear as young

adults' narratives in order to meet the additional goals they may hold (e.g., telling an interesting

story). This explanation is also consistent with previous research, which found that young adults

typically produced clearer narratives while older adults produced more interesting narratives

(e.g., James et al., 1998).

When telling an episodic narrative, elaborativeness was reported by both young and older

adults as being a primary goal, and now older adults were better than young adults at meeting

this goal. The inhibitory deficit hypothesis would explain this finding by suggesting that older

adults' inability to inhibit extraneous information from being produced would allow them to tell

narratives that are more elaborative (e.g., Arbuckle & Gold, 1993; Stoltzfus et al., 1996; Zacks &

Hasher, 1994). However, adding irrelevant information should decrease the clarity of the

narratives, but older adults' episodic narratives were rated as clear and easy to follow as

narratives produced by young adults. Since older adults' goal of elaborativeness did not sacrifice

the clarity of their narratives relative to young adults, it is unlikely that their elaborativeness

came from irrelevant information and instead resulted from additional details relevant to the

topic. It is noteworthy that young adults listed elaborativeness overwhelmingly as a primary goal

for episodic topics, but they received relatively low ratings on this dimension by both young and









older raters. This finding suggests that although young adults value elaborativeness, they are not

very good at including details and expanding on ideas in their narratives. Perhaps an elaborative

speech style is developed throughout the life span and becomes more pronounced with aging, or

perhaps the idea of what elaborativeness consists of changes over time.

At first glance, the findings related to Hypothesis 2 also appear to contradict the

predictions of the pragmatic change hypothesis, which maintains that speech styles are a function

of communicative goals (e.g., Boden & Bielby, 1983; Giles & Coupland, 1991). If young and

older adults both hold clarity and elaborativeness as their primary goals for procedural and

episodic topics respectively, then the pragmatic change hypothesis would predict no differences

in speech styles. The results of the present research did find differences in speech styles.

However, it is important to recall that while young and older adults had one of their primary

goals in common for both topic types, they did not share all of their goals. Therefore, the goals

that were different for young and older adults may be the cause of age-related differences in the

ability to meet their shared goals, which is consistent with the pragmatic change hypothesis.

Hypothesis 3 of the present study was concerned with young and older adults' ability to

inhibit their original goals in order to meet a goal that was specified for them. When instructed to

accept new goals, both young and older adults were capable of becoming less talkative and

elaborative for episodic topics, but young adults were better than older adults at meeting this

goal. The results also showed an ability to alter speech styles for procedural topics, but only for

young adults, who increased their level of talkativeness and elaborativeness. In contrast, older

adults showed no increase in their elaborativeness and were only marginally more talkative on

procedural topics, following instructions to alter their goals. These findings support the

inhibitory deficit hypothesis, which states that older adults' difficulty with inhibiting information









would hinder their ability to alter their goals (e.g., Arbuckle & Gold, 1993; Stoltzfus et al., 1996;

Zacks & Hasher, 1994). However, although young adults were better at altering their goals, older

adults also showed some inhibition of their desire to be elaborative in order to meet an alternate

goal. This finding, particularly the ability to become more concise (which is in direct opposition

with the idea of increased OTS with age), suggests that older adults' inhibition deficits may not

be as severe as previous literature suggests (e.g., Arbuckle & Gold, 1993; Stoltzfus et al., 1996;

Zacks & Hasher, 1994).

The present study did not investigate OTS directly; however, several aspects of the results

speak to previous OTS literature. Dimensions including focus (defined as staying on topic) and

logical (defined as sensible and coherent) were used to shed light on the issue of OTS in the

present study. As defined by Arbuckle et al (1993), OTS is speech lacking in focus and

coherence. Furthermore, Arbuckle et al. (2000) proposed that OTS is caused by the intrusion of

irrelevant personal information, such as in a conversation about autobiographical subj ect matter.

If older adults were to have more OTS than young adults in the present study, then they would

have been rated lower on the focus and logical dimensions than young adults.

Interestingly, the results of the present study show that for episodic topics similar to those

used in previous studies, young and older adults were rated as equally focused and logical,

suggesting that older adults did not have more OTS than young adults for these types of topics.

These results are inconsistent with the inhibitory deficit hypothesis, which predicts that older

adults would have more OTS than young adults due to their inability to inhibit random thoughts

and topics from coming out in their stories. The results are also inconsistent with previous

studies claiming that older adults have more OTS and less effective communication skills than

young adults (e.g., Arbuckle et al., 2000; Glosser & Deser, 1992). However; the results could










potentially be reconciled with previous work if the definition of OTS was measured purely in

terms of listeners' perceptions of how well young and older adults' narratives remained focused

and coherent across studies.

The results of the present studies were also inconsistent with James et al.'s (1998) findings

that young raters rated older speakers as less focused than older speakers, whereas older raters

rated them as equivalently focused. There was no effect of rater age on focus ratings in the

present experiment for either topic type. This finding could be related to the method used to

present the narratives. In James et al. (1998), participants read written forms of the narratives,

whereas they listened to orally-presented narratives in the present study. Perhaps hearing a story

is a more comparable experience for young and older raters because they perceive the

information presented in the exact same way (e.g., voice, intonation, prosody, emphasis on

particular words, etc.) and use these auditory cues to adopt similar criteria for what constitutes

focus. In contrast, when reading narratives, young and older adults do not have the advantage of

these auditory cues and may process the texts differently, which could ultimately affect whether

they view information in the narrative to be on-topic (i.e., focused). In sum, the findings of the

present research provide evidence against the OTS literature, which suggests that older adults are

more prone to producing speech that lacks in focus and coherence (e.g., Arbuckle & Gold, 1993;

Gold et al., 1988; Gold & Arbuckle, 1995; Gold et al, 1994). The present results suggest that

older adults are not necessarily producing OTS, but rather speech that is in line with their

communicative goals, which have been developed through a lifetime of experience with what

makes for a good story.

In contrast to episodic topics, older adults were rated as being less focused than young

adults for procedural topics, but they were also rated as being equivalently logical. Perhaps










procedural types of narrative have a more stringent definition of what is considered on topic, as

listeners may not have expected much personal information for this topic. These findings also

speak to the subjectivity of deciding what should and should not be considered off topic. For

example, young speakers may have viewed personal anecdotes as off-topic for procedural topics,

whereas older speakers may have viewed them as germane to the topic, given that they were

grounded in an autobiographical memory. When presented with a procedural topic, older adults

valued telling a fascinating story to the same extent as telling a focused narrative, so it is possible

that their ratings on focus may have been compromised by their additional goal of being

fascinating, similar to the earlier claim of sacrificing clarity for interest when telling procedural

narratives. This finding supports the pragmatic change hypothesis, which suggests that age

differences in speech styles, such as the ones seen in the present study, are due to a difference in

communicative goals held by young and older adults (e.g., Boden et al., 1983; Giles et al., 1991).

Future research should continue to explore the differences, both actual and perceived,

between young and older adults' speech styles. The present research shows that communicative

goals vary greatly with age, and that despite the negative beliefs about older adults' speech styles

(e.g., Arbuckle & Gold, 1993; Glosser & Deser, 1992; Gold et al., 1988; Gold & Arbuckle, 1995;

Gold et al., 1994), they are considered superior story-tellers (e.g., Ryan et al., 1992; Kemper et

al., 1990; James et al., 1998). Future research might explore what types of factors make for a

good story and whether these factors can be traced back to the speakers' communicative goals.

Furthermore, investigating whether good story-telling is a skill than can be taught, or whether it

only comes with years of practice and experience, is another question for future exploration.

Finally, future research on OTS needs to address the issues of differing communicative goals

found in the present studies. Continuing to promote the idea that OTS is an issue related to










cognitive decline with old age (e.g., Zacks et al., 1994), without accounting for other studies

finding no age differences in OTS, is problematic, as it unfairly endorses negative beliefs about

older adults' language skills.

The current studies had several limitations. One is the inclusion of a lenient definition for

"older" when defining older adults. There may be important differences with respect to

communicative goals held, the ability to meet goals, the ability to alter goals, and in OTS, among

people who are in their 60s, 70s, and 80s, which were not captured in the present research.

Future research may look at differences among adults in their 60s, 70s, and 80s, and whether

those potential differences reveal a pattern of results different from what was found in the

present research. Perhaps differences more in line with the inhibitory deficit Hypothesis will be

found in the oldest-old (i.e., ages 80 and above) of the population, when cognitive declines may

be more prominent (e.g., Zacks & Hasher, 1994). The oldest-old may have more difficulty with

selecting appropriate goals to suit the speech style for the discourse they intend to produce. They

may also be less successful than younger adults in meeting their chosen goals, and they may be

unable to alter their goals at will, due to an inefficient inhibition system caused by their increased

age (e.g., Stoltzfus et al., 1996; Zacks & Hasher, 1994). Older adults over age 80 are also more

likely to have dementia that has not yet been diagnosed, so it is important to separate healthy

older adults from adults with pathological diseases when testing this age group.

Another limitation of the current research is the failure to take into account both

personality and social characteristics when assessing young and older adults' communicative

goals and speech styles. For example, people with extraverted personalities and large social

networks may have a different way of communicating than introverted people with smaller social

networks, and their speech styles may differ as a function of their personalities and social









circumstances even when holding the same communicative goals. Similarly, gender of speaker

and listener could play an important role in assessing differences in speech styles, as could

cultural backgrounds. In addition to cognitive factors, future research investigating

communicative goals and OTS across the lifespan should also include personality traits and

social factors, such as extraversion, socioeconomic status, size of social network, etc., which

could potentially influence speech styles.

The present research is also limited in that it only explored a small subset of possible

communicative goals. Other goals may be important for understanding age-related differences in

speech styles. For example, humor might be an interesting dimension to investigate, as it could

potentially influence (both positively and negatively) how narratives are produced as well as

perceived. Young and older adults are likely to have different sense of humors, and even within

these groups, individuals' senses of humor vary greatly. Additionally, pragmatic goals, such as

including the listener in the discourse by making eye-contact, asking questions, and encouraging

feedback, should be explored to assess their effects on speech styles and effectiveness on listener

ratings.

A final limitation is that the speakers' narratives were not analyzed directly. An important

follow-up to the present research is to analyze different components of the narratives produced

by the speakers. For example, narratives with procedural topics could be analyzed in terms of

their inclusion of personal information and reminiscence to explore whether older adults did

indeed include more autobiographical information than young adults, as suggested by their

communicative goals. Additionally, narratives could be analyzed in terms of the types of

information young and older adults chose to eliminate when told to be concise, as well as the

types of information they chose to expand upon when told to be elaborate. This information









would reveal the information that young and older adults consider vital versus superfluous to

their narratives, which would be useful for gaining insight about what makes a good story.

In sum, the purpose of the present research was to shed light on communicative goals held

by young and older adults and the ways in which these goals affect how each age group conveys

information of an autobiographical nature. Communication is arguably one of the most important

aspects of everyday life and is universally utilized across the lifespan. Communication is not

only necessary for the concise exchange of information, but it also allows for a chance to

reminisce about one's life. The present research suggests that older adults' ability to

communicate is enhanced by their selection of goals, and when elaboration is encouraged, we

become more capable of meeting our goals as we age. Thus, contrary to negative perceptions

about older adults' speech, older adults have some advantages in their production of discourse.









































4.



5.



6.



7.



8.



9.


10.


APPENDIX A
PARTS 1 & 2 OF PILOT QUESTIONNAIRE

Part 1:
Communication is an extremely important part of our everyday lives. The goal of
communication is essentially to transmit or share ideas or information. Everyone has their own
individual communicative goals, and we are interested in finding out what yours are.
This questionnaire assesses your communicative goals in telling a narrative about your
daily routine. Close your eyes for a minute and recall one of your daily routines, such as getting
ready in the morning, or getting ready for bed at night. Try to picture yourself going through one
of your daily routines and imagine describing this routine to a new person that you have just met.
Which communicative goals would be important for you to convey when telling this type of
narrative? Please list at least 4 communicative goals in order of their importance to you.










Part 2:
This questionnaire assesses your communicative goals in telling a narrative about an
episode in your life. Close your eyes for a minute and recall a memorable event in your life, such
as a memorable vacation you have taken or a memorable party you have attended. Try to picture
yourself being back at that event, and imagine describing this event to a new person that you
have just met. Which communicative goals would be important for you to convey when telling
this type of narrative? Please list at least 4 communicative goals in order of their importance to
you.



















10.





APPENDIX B
PARTS 3 & 4 OF PILOT QUESTIONNAIRE

Part 3:
On the following questionnaire, we are interested in finding out how you would rate
specific communicative goals in terms of their importance to you when telling a
narrative about your daily routine.

Close your eyes for a minute and recall one of your daily routines, such as getting ready
in the morning, or getting ready for bed at night. Try to picture yourself going through
one of your daily routines and imagine describing this routine to a new person that you
have just met. On the following pages you will see a list of communicative goal pairs.
Please circle a number between 1 and 7 for each communicative goal pair, based on
which one of the two communicative goals listed is most important to you when telling
a narrative about your daily routine.

Here is an example:

Complex 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Relevant
telling a narrative that telling a narrative that
is multifaceted is personally meaningful

How do you determine which number to circle?
In this example, the numbers 1, 2, and 3 represent valuing telling a Complex narrative
more than telling a Relevant narrative, with the number 1 indicating the strongest value
on telling Complex narratives. The numbers 5, 6, and 7 represent valuing telling a
Relevant narrative more than telling a Complex narrative, with the number 7 indicating
the strongest value on telling Relevant narratives. The number 4 should be circled if you
value both communicative goals equally.

Please begin circling on the next page










Circle a number between 1 and 7 for each of the following communicative goal pairs:

Clarity 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Interest
telling a narrative that telling a narrative that keeps
is understandable, the listener's attention and
straightforward, and makes the listener want to
unambiguous hear more

Fascinating 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Focus
telling a narrative that telling a narrative that stays
is intriguing and contains on topic
unique information

Comprehensible 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Elaborative
telling a narrative telling a narrative full of details
that makes sense and and expanding on ideas
is easy to follow

Entertaining 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Simple
telling a narrative that telling a narrative without frills,
is amusing to listen to using little or no elaboration



Logical 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Stimulating
telling a narrative that telling a narrative that is
is sensible and coherent thought-provoking


Humorous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Honest
telling a narrative that telling a narrative that is
is funny and amusing sincere and serious


Educational 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Objective
telling a narrative that telling a narrative that
is instructive and enlightening without expressing personal
feelings and opinions

Emotional 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Imaginative
telling a narrative telling a narrative that is
while showing a range creative and original
of emotions









Part 4:
On the following questionnaire, we are interested in finding out how you would rate
specific communicative goals in terms of their importance to you when telling a
narrative about a memorable event in your life.

Close your eyes for a minute and recall a memorable event in your life, such as a
memorable vacation you have taken or a memorable party you have attended. Try to
picture yourself being back at that event and imagine describing this event to a new
person that you have just met. On the following page you will see a list of
communicative goal pairs. Please circle a number between 1 and 7 for each
communicative goal pair, based on which one of the two communicative goals listed is
most important to you when telling a narrative about a memorable event in your life.

Here is an example:

Complex 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Relevant
telling a narrative that telling a narrative that
is multifaceted is personally meaningful

How do you determine which number to circle?
In this example, the numbers 1, 2, and 3 represent valuing telling a Complex narrative
more than telling a Relevant narrative, with the number 1 indicating the strongest value
on telling Complex narratives. The numbers 5, 6, and 7 represent valuing telling a
Relevant narrative more than telling a Complex narrative, with the number 7 indicating
the strongest value on telling Relevant narratives. The number 4 should be circled if you
value both communicative goals equally.

Please begin circling on the next page










Circle a number between 1 and 7 for each of the following communicative goal pairs:

Clarity 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Interest
telling a narrative that telling a narrative that keeps
is understandable, the listener's attention and
straightforward, and makes the listener want to
unambiguous hear more

Fascinating 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Focus
telling a narrative that telling a narrative that stays
is intriguing and contains on topic
unique information

Comprehensible 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Elaborative
telling a narrative telling a narrative full of details
that makes sense and and expanding on ideas
is easy to follow

Entertaining 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Simple
telling a narrative that telling a narrative without frills,
is amusing to listen to using little or no elaboration



Logical 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Stimulating
telling a narrative that telling a narrative that is
is sensible and coherent thought-provoking


Humorous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Honest
telling a narrative that telling a narrative that is
is funny and amusing sincere and serious


Educational 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Objective
telling a narrative that telling a narrative that
is instructive and enlightening without expressing personal
feelings and opinions

Emotional 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Imaginative
telling a narrative telling a narrative that is
while showing a range creative and original
of emotions










APPENDIX C
RATER EVALUATION SHEET

Story #

Please circle the number that best fits your evaluation of the narrative you just heard on the following dimensions:


(a) interest Was the story interesting?1


2
(not at all)


3 4 5 6 7
(completely)


2 3 4 5 6 7
(completely)


2 3 4 5 6 7
(completely)


2 3 4 5 6 7
ll) (completely)


2 3 4 5 6 7
(completely)


3 4 5 6 7
(very good)


2 3 4 5 6 7
(completely)


2 3 4 5 6 7
(completely)


2 3 4 5 6 7
) (completely)


2 3 4 5 6 7
(completely)


2 3 4 5 6 7
l) (completely)


2 3 4 5 6 7
ill) (completely)


(b) informativeness Was the story informative? 1
(not at all)


(c) clarity- Was the story clear and easy to follow?1
(not at all)


(d) focus Did the speaker stay focused on the topic?1
(not at a


(e) talkativeness Was the speaker talkative? 1
(not at all)


(f) story quality Was it a good story? 1 2
(very bad)


(g) elaborative Was the story full of details? 1
(not at all)


(h) humorous Was the story funnv/amusing? 1
(not at all)


(i) imaginative Was the story creative and original?1
(not at all


(f) logical Was the story sensible and coherent?1
(not at all)


(k) educational -Did the story teach you something?1
(not at al


(1) objective Did the story seem to be based on facts?1
(not at a










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Coupland, N., & Coupland, J. (1995). Discourse, identity and aging. In J. F. Nussbaum & J.
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Giles, H., Coupland, N., & Wiemann, J. (1992). "Talk is cheap..." but "My word is my bond":
Beliefs about talk. In K. Bolton & H. Kwok (Eds.), Sociolinguistics today: International
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Glosser, G., & Deser, T. (1992). A comparison of changes in macrolinguistic and microlinguistic
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Gold, D., Andres, D., Arbuckle, T., & Schwartzman, A. (1988). Measurement and correlates of
verbosity in elderly people. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 43, 27-33.

Gold, D. P., Arbuckle, T. Y., & Andres, D. (1994). Verbosity in older adults. In Ml. L.
Hummert, J. M. Wiemann, & J. F. Nussbaum (Eds.), Interpersonal communication in older
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Gould, O. N., & Dixon, R. A. (1993). How we spent our vacation: Collaborative storytelling by
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Hasher, L., & Zacks, R. T. (1988). Working memory, comprehension, and aging: A review and a
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pp. 193-225). New York: Academic Press.

Hayslip, B. (1981). Verbosity and the proj ective test performance in the aged. Journal of Clinical
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Heller, R. B., & Dobbs, A. R. (1993). Age differences in word finding in discourse and
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Directions in sociolinguistic: The ethnography of communication (pp. 35-71). Oxford,
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James, L. E., Burke, D. M., Austin, A., & Hulme, E. (1998). Production and perception of
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Dunj a Trunk was born in Denmark and relocated to Pennsylvania with her family when

she was 11 years old. She received her BA in psychology from Indiana University of

Pennsylvania in 2002. Dunj a received her MS in 2004 and her PhD in 2007, both in cognitive

psychology, from the University of Florida. After graduation, Dunj a will begin her academic

career as an assistant professor of psychology at Bloomfield College.





PAGE 1

1 THE EFFECT OF COMMUNICATIVE GOALS ON TELLING TWO TYPES OF AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL NARRATIVES IN YOUNG AND OLDER ADULTS By DUNJA LUND TRUNK A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2007

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2 2007 Dunja Lund Trunk

PAGE 3

3 To my husband, Jordan, and our two dogs, Abby and Bailey

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The writing of my dissertation would not have been possible without the support of many people. My sincere gratitude must first go to my advisor, Dr. Lise Abrams. Her extraordinary mentoring allowed me to successfully complete my dissertation and the doctoral program in cognitive psychology at the University of Flor ida. Dr. Abrams not only provided me with guidance on my research projects, but she also se rved as a phenomenal teacher for me to emulate as I begin my own career in academia. I am very grateful for the members of my outstanding doctoral committee, professors Lise Abrams, Lori Altmann, Susan Bluck, and Ira Fischl er, who challenged me with their insightful comments and questions. I would like to thank th em for their encouragement and guidance. My research for this dissertation was greatly impr oved through their perceptiv e input, and I deeply appreciate their helpful suggestions. My thanks go out to my colleagues and friends especially Lisa Merr ill and Sara Margolin, who kept things fun and made our lab such a grea t place to work. My graduate studies would not have been the same without them. I owe a speci al note of gratitude to my exceptional research assistants, Kimberly Gorski and Paige Spencer, for assisting me with various tasks on my dissertation. Their dedication and ha rd work is greatly appreciated. I would like to thank my family for believing in me, not only during my graduate studies, but in all of my endeavors. Th eir ability to make me laugh a llowed me to keep going and find humor in life even during the most challenging of times. I am especially grateful to my husband and best friend, Jordan, who is a constant source of support in my life. His unselfish love and patience is appreciated more than he knows. I dedicate this work to him and our two sweet dogs, Abby and Bailey.

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5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................4 TABLE OF CONTENTS.............................................................................................................. ...5 LIST OF TABLES................................................................................................................. ..........7 ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... ..............9 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION..................................................................................................................10 Background..................................................................................................................... ........10 The Present Research Studies..........................................................................................17 Hypotheses..................................................................................................................... .17 2 PILOT STUDY AND EXPERIMENT 1................................................................................20 Pilot Questionnaire............................................................................................................ .....20 Pilot Method................................................................................................................... ........20 Participants................................................................................................................... ...20 Materials...................................................................................................................... ....20 Procedure...................................................................................................................... ...22 Results........................................................................................................................ .............22 Experiment 1................................................................................................................... ........23 Method......................................................................................................................... ...........24 Participants................................................................................................................... ...24 Materials...................................................................................................................... ....25 Procedure...................................................................................................................... ...25 Transcription.................................................................................................................. ..28 Results........................................................................................................................ .............28 Goal Ratings................................................................................................................... .28 Word Count.....................................................................................................................32 Discussion..................................................................................................................... ..........33 3 EXPERIMENT 2................................................................................................................... .47 Purpose........................................................................................................................ ...........47 Method......................................................................................................................... ...........48 Participants................................................................................................................... ...48 Materials...................................................................................................................... ....49 Procedure...................................................................................................................... ...50 Results........................................................................................................................ .............51 Meeting Goals.................................................................................................................51

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6 Altering Goals.................................................................................................................52 OTS............................................................................................................................ ......54 Discussion..................................................................................................................... ..........56 4 DISCUSSION..................................................................................................................... ....71 APPENDIX A PARTS 1 & 2 OF PILOT QUESTIONNAIRE......................................................................81 B PARTS 3 & 4 OF PILOT QUESTIONNAIRE......................................................................83 C RATER EVALUATION SHEET...........................................................................................87 REFERENCES..................................................................................................................... .........88 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.........................................................................................................91

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7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 2-1 Percentage of time young and older sp eakers self-reported goals among the first three goals produced..........................................................................................................38 2-2 Means and standard deviations for background variables.................................................39 2-3 Young adults goal preferences for episodic and procedural topics..................................40 2-4 Older adults goal preferences fo r episodic and procedural topics....................................40 2-5 Clarity-interest by speaker age group and topic type.........................................................40 2-6 Fascinating-focus by speaker age group and topic type....................................................41 2-7 Comprehensible-elaborative by sp eaker age group and topic type...................................41 2-8 Entertaining-simple by speaker age group and topic type.................................................41 2-9 Logical-stimulating by speaker age group and topic type.................................................42 2-10 Educational-objective by speak er age group and topic type..............................................42 2-11 Mean number of words by speaker ag e group, topic type, an d instructions......................42 3-1 Means and standard deviations for background variables in Experiment 2......................63 3-2 Characteristics of the six sets of transcripts in Experiment 2............................................63 3-3 Young and older speakers on clarity and elaborativeness by young raters in Experiment 2................................................................................................................... ...64 3-4 Young and older speakers on clarity a nd elaborativeness by older raters in Experiment 2................................................................................................................... ...64 3-5 Young and older speakers on talkativen ess and elaborativeness by young raters in Experiment 2................................................................................................................... ...65 3-6 Young and older speakers on talkativene ss and elaborativeness by older raters in Experiment 2................................................................................................................... ...65 3-7 Young and older speakers on focus and l ogical by young raters in Experiment 2............66 3-8 Young and older speakers on focus and logi cal by older raters in Experiment 2..............66

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8 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2-1 Clarity and interest as a function of topic type by young and older adults........................43 2-2 Fascinating and focus as a function of topic type by young and older adults...................43 2-3 Comprehensible and elaborative as a function of topic type by young and older adults......................................................................................................................... .........44 2-4 Entertaining and simple as a functio n of topic type by young and older adults................44 2-5 Logical and stimulating as a function of topic type by young and older adults................45 2-6 Educational and objective as a function of topic type by young and older adults.............45 2-7 Mean number of words spoken av eraged across speaker age group.................................46 3-1 Clarity for the Speaker Age Gr oup x Topic Type interaction...........................................67 3-2 Episodic topics: Talkativeness for the Speaker Age Group x Topic Type x Instructions interaction.......................................................................................................68 3-3 Procedural topics: Talkativeness fo r the Speaker Age Group x Topic Type x Instructions interaction.......................................................................................................68 3-4 Episodic topics: Elaborativeness fo r the Speaker Age Group x Topic Type x Instructions interaction.......................................................................................................69 3-5 Procedural topics: Elaborativeness for the Speaker Age Group x Topic Type x Instructions interaction.......................................................................................................69 3-6 Focus for the Speaker Age Group x Topic Type interaction.............................................70

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9 Abstract of Dissertation Pres ented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy THE EFFECT OF COMMUNICATIVE GOALS ON TELLING TWO TYPES OF AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL NARRATIVES IN YOUNG AND OLDER ADULTS By Dunja Lund Trunk August 2007 Chair: Lise Abrams Major: Psychology The present research inves tigated young and older adul ts communicative goals for autobiographical narratives and then assessed thei r ability to meet as well as alter these goals. Young and older participants told episodic (e .g., a memorable vacation) and procedural (e.g., ones morning routine) narratives, which we re rated by another group of young and older listeners. Older adults had a more comprehensive set of goals that were similar for both topics, whereas young adults goals were more disparat e across topics. For meeting goals, young adults were better than older adults at meeting the goal of clarity for procedural topics, whereas older adults were more successful at meeting the goa l of elaborativeness for episodic topics. Although young adults were more successful at altering their goals, both age groups demonstrated the ability to do so. The results suggest that differenc es in goals and difficulti es with inhibition can affect discourse styles across the lifespan.

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10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Background Previous research provides evidence for the idea that young and older adults quality and style of discourse tends to di ffer as a function of their inte ntions, or, communicative goals. Communicative goals can determin e the selection of which speech style a person may choose to utilize (Giles & Coupl and, 1991; Hymes, 1972; Labov, 1969). For example, young adults may sometimes adopt a condescending style of discourse when speaking to older adults, even when the older adults are healthy and functioni ng normally (Hummert, 1994; Kemper, 1994; Ryan, Giles, Bartolucci, & Henwood, 1986). This speech st yle is thought to reflect the way in which the young speakers view older adults, which in turn shapes their communicative goals (e.g., speak slowly, clearly, loudly) w ith older adults (James, Burke, Austin, & Hulme, 1998). Older adults, on the other hand, may sel ect a more expansive discourse st yle, as a reflection of their desire for social interaction and the value th ey place on the process of talking (Giles & Coupland, 1991; Giles et al., 1992). Although it is suggested in th e literature that young and older adult have different communicative goals, th ere is no empirical res earch quantifying what those goals are. My research investigated communicative goa ls held by young and older adults and the ways in which these goals might affect how each age group conveys autobiographical information. Autobiographical information was chosen because age differences in communicative styles are typically largest when th e discourse topic is rela ted to the telling of personal narratives and significant life events (J ames et. al, 1998). Specific aims of the present research were: (1) to assess communicative goals that are held by young and older adults and to determine whether these communicative goals diffe r as a function of age and autobiographical

PAGE 11

11 discourse topic, (2) to compare young and older adults ability to meet their communicative goals, from a listeners perspective, for two types of autobiographical discourse topics, and (3) to explore whether young and older adults can consci ously alter their speech style when given specific instructions about which goals s hould be emphasized in their narratives. Communicative goals have previously been shown to influence language production, specifically the level of talkativeness and off-t opic speech (OTS; also referred to as off-topic verbosity, e.g., Arbuckle & Pushkar Gold, 1993; Gold, Andres, Arbuckle, & Schwartzman, 1988; Gold, Arbuckle, & Andres, 1994). For example, James et al. (1998) suggested that older adults use more elaborative speech and go off-t opic more often than young adults in order to meet their specific communicative goals. However, it remains unclear in the literature whether OTS is directly tied to communica tive goals or whether it is caused by other factors, such as an inability to inhibit irre levant information. Throughout the past several decades, a fair amount of research has been done on talkativeness and OTS in older adults, topics that some might argue are still not very well underst ood today. OTS refers to speech th at may start out on-topic, but quickly becomes prolonged, unconstr ained, and irrelevant to the present topic at hand. Arbuckle and Gold (1993) identified the two key determinants of OTS, namely lack of focus and coherence. Lack of focus refers to speech that has continuous intrusions of irrelevant speech, whereas lack of coherence refers to speech that is lacking in orderly continuity to a listener. Arbuckle, Nohara-LeClair, and Pushkar (2000) added that the decrease in the focus and coherence of speech produced by older adults is typically caused by the intrusion of irrelevant personal information, such as in a conversat ion about autobiographical subject matter. Alternatively, James et al. (1998) proposed that OTS is a change in speaking behavior made by older adults as a reflection of their different communicative goals.

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12 Two main hypotheses underlying the causes of age-linked OTS have been proposed in the literature to date: the inhibito ry deficit hypothesis and the pragmatic change hypothesis. The inhibitory deficit hypothesis is a theoretical framework based on the inhibition deficit hypothesis (Hasher & Zacks, 1988; Stoltzfus, Hasher, & Zacks, 1996; West, 1996; Zacks & Hasher, 1994) and suggests that OTS is caused by an age-rela ted inhibitory deficit (Arbuckle & Gold, 1993; Pushkar Gold & Arbuckle, 1995). The inhibitory de ficit explanation of OTS maintains that older adults may be more inclined to OTS because th ey have difficulties with inhibiting irrelevant stimulus associations (e.g., random thoughts and topics) from working memory. This inhibition deficit would lead them to talk a bout topics that are unrelated to the actual topic at hand and will affect all aspects of older adults language production (e.g., both autobiographical and nonautobiographical speech topics) Evidence for the inhibitory deficit hypothesi s of OTS comes from several studies (e.g., Arbuckle et al. 2000; Glosser & Deser, 1992; Ju ncos-Rabadan, 1996). Glosser and Deser (1992) interviewed middle-aged and elderly healthy participants and anal yzed their discourse productions in terms of global thematic coherence, which refers to how well participants stayed focused on the general topic of discourse. The re searchers found that in contrast to the middleaged participants, the elderly pa rticipants did not stay on the ge neral topic of discourse, which the authors suggested was because older adults were unable to inhibit random thoughts and topics. Arbuckle et al. (2000) asse ssed OTS in older adults by firs t categorizing participants into high, mid and low OTS groups on the basis of a life-h istory interview. The researchers then used a referential communication task, in which one individual (the direct or) is required to describe abstract figures to another i ndividual (the matcher). The dir ectors and matchers were given identical sets of stimuli, which consisted of six geometric figures, or Tangrams. The directors

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13 were asked to give the matchers information about the stimuli so the matcher could rearrange his or her stimuli in the same seque nce as the director. The results showed that directors from the high OTS group were less efficient than mid a nd low OTS directors in decreasing the time needed to complete the referential task across the trials. In addition, th ey found that directors from the high OTS group took more time to develop labels, (e.g., Indian, handstand, man bowing, runner, woman praying, falling backward), used more words, and were more difficult for their matchers to comprehend compared to the mid and low OTS directors. In essence, Arbuckle et al. (2000) found that high levels of OTS were associated with inefficient communication of non-autobiographical information. Therefore, the inhibitory deficit hypothesis was supported, as it predicts that OTS will affect speech even in a non-autobiographical context, such as the referential communication task. Not all research, however, has shown age di fferences in OTS (Boden & Bielby; Chapman, Ulatowska, King, Johnson, & McIntire, 1995; Gould & Dixon, 1993; Shewan & Henderson, 1988) or in the amount of speech as measured by total words, propositions, or utterances. Young and older adults did not differ in these measures across a variety of different tasks, such as describing videos (Heller & Dobbs, 1993), everyday activities (Ulatowska, Cannito, Hayashi, & Fleming, 1985), inkblots (Hays lip, 1981), and memorable experiences (North, Ulatowska, Macaluso-Haynes, & Bell, 1986). This lack of consistency in age differences in OTS and talkativeness poses a problem fo r the inhibitory deficit hypothes is, as it maintains that the inhibition deficit that older a dults experience should apply to all language production tasks. In contrast to the inhibitory deficit hypothe sis, the pragmatic change hypothesis focuses on the intentions of the speakers communicative goals. More spec ifically, the pragmatic change hypothesis maintains that young and older adults have different speech styles as a result of the

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14 different communicative goals they hold for th eir speech (e.g., Boden & Bielby, 1983; Giles & Coupland, 1991). One view proposes that older a dults place greater valu e on the process of talking and the opportunity for social interaction with others relative to young adults, as older adults may view their discourse as part of their identity (e.g., Coupland & Coupland, 1995). Another view suggests that older adults remini sce more than young adults to serve the function of teaching and informing others (e.g., Webster, 1998). A third view proposes that older adults value the opportunity to talk more because th ey may have less social contacts and therefore fewer chances to converse with others comp ared to young adults (e.g., Giles & Coupland, 1991; Giles, Coupland & Wiemann, 1992). Therefore, thei r communicative goals may be in line with a more elaborative style of conversing, hence th eir propensity for off-t opic speech. Given these goals, the assumption follows that OTS shoul d not occur in all situations involving communication, but mainly in those which provide older adults with the opportunity to tell elaborative narratives a bout themselves and their life story. According to the pragmatic change hypothesis, older adults should not have as much OTS in communication tasks involving objective information, such as describing pictures of random events, beca use in that context, there are more constraints placed on speech producti on relative to a personal speech topic. With more constraints, older adults' communicative goals change and become more concise and objective as a function of the contex t in which they are communicating. Evidence for the pragmatic change hypothesi s can be found in a study conducted by James et al. (1998). Young and older part icipants were asked to descri be three personal topics, which included their education, their family, and a me morable or enjoyable vacation. They were also asked to describe three pictures which depicted a cookie theft, an elderly couple sitting on a bench with a family in the background, and two 19th century women looking in a store window.

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15 The pictures were relatively unknown, and they were assumed to be equally relevant to young and older adults. The results showed that older adults were more talkat ive than young adults in terms of producing more words, but only for th e personal topics. They were no more talkative than the young adults when describing the pictur es. They also found that age differences in the proportion of OTS, which was defined as the total number of words that were off-topic, were found in both picture and personal topics, but this age effect was more pronounced for personal topics relative to the picture topics. Both of these findings ar e consistent with the pragmatic change hypothesis, which predicts more OTS fo r older adults when conversing about personal topics. However, off-topic speech within the pragmatic change hypothesis can occur for tasks like picture descriptions if the task evokes a memory for a pers onal experience that the older adults could relay to a listener. Whereas personal topics automatically e voke autobiographical memories, picture descriptions may or may not do so. Therefore, th e increased OTS observed in James et al. (1998) for personal topics relative to pi cture topics may have been due to differences in the extent to which the topics utilized an autobiographical component. The pr esent research controlled for differences between the two t ypes of narratives by honing in on two different types of autobiographical speech topics, namely episodic (e.g., a favorite vacation) and procedural topics (e.g., a daily routine carried out on a specific day in ones life). Th ese topics are both autobiographical, as they refer back to a pers onal memory experienced by the speaker; however, they differ in terms of the type of speaking style they might elicit, much like the two types of topics used in James et al. (1998). That is, the episodic topic was desi gned to capture a unique autobiographical memory for a memorable onetime event, whereas the procedural topic was

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16 intended to elicit an autobiographical memory cont aining a sequenced script of events that has occurred numerous times. In a second experiment, James et al. (1998) asked a new set of young and older adults to read transcripts of the young and older adults who had provided personal narratives in the first experiment. After reading the tran scripts, participants evaluated them on a variety of dimensions including focus, talkativeness, clarity, interest informativeness, and story quality. The results revealed that young participants rated the young speakers as being more focused than older speakers, whereas older participants did not rate young and older speakers differently in terms of focus. This finding suggests that older adults do not view as many ideas as being off-topic or unfocused as do young adults. This finding may be due to older a dults increased life experiences, allowing them to draw connections between ideas that young adults might view as completely unrelated to each other. James et al ., (1998) also found that older speakers responses were rated higher than young speakers responses on interest, informativeness, and story quality dimensions, which suggests that OTS may have a certain amount of communicative value. Other studies support the idea that peopl e believe that older adults tell more enjoyable stories than young adults (e.g., Ryan, Kwong See, Meneer, & Travato, 1992) and that people rate older adults stories more positively on interest, informativeness, and story quality dimensions than young adults stories (e.g., James et al., 1998; Ke mper, Kynette, Rash, OBrien, & Scott, 1989; Kemper, Rash, Kynette, & Norma n, 1990; Pratt & Robins, 1991). All of these results provide ev idence for the pragmatic change hypothesis, as they showed a more pronounced age-related increase in OT S on personal topics re lative to picture descriptions. In addition, the resu lts suggest that OTS has communi cative value, as older adults

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17 speech was rated more positively on the interest, in formativeness, and story quality dimensions than that of young adults. The Present Research Studies Continuing to categorize OTS does not seem especi ally beneficial to the literature, as these categorizations are subjective and open to the biases of the experimenter. Previous research has shown multiple ways of operationally defining OTS, but what is to be considered off-topic is ultimately left up to the experimenters discretion, which is problematic given the subjective nature of individual opinions. Therefore, the present research investigated young and older adults communicative goals and the ability to meet them as an i ndirect method for looking at the phenomenon of talkativeness and OTS. As sugge sted by the pragmatic change hypothesis, older adults communicative goals may be the source that leads them to be more talkative and produce more OTS because they may value the experience of social interaction and the process of talking more than young adults. By looking at the differences between young and older adults communicative goals in varying discourse contexts the present research sheds light on which communicative goals young and older adults value, whether young or older adults are better at meeting their own goals, and whether they are ca pable of altering them, in terms of becoming more concise or more elaborative, when instructed to do so. Hypotheses Hypothesis 1. In accordance with the pragmatic change hypothesis, young and older adults were expected to favor a differe nt set of communicative goals, pa rticularly for episodic topics, and these differences in goals would lead to gr eater differences in young and older adults speech styles. For episodic topics, older adults were expected to favor goals that would allow them to select a more expressive speech style appropriate for reminiscing about significant life events, such as being interesting and elaborative. In c ontrast, young adults were pr edicted to favor goals

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18 in line with a clearer and more focused speech style because th ey do not value the telling of personal narratives and reminiscence as much as older adults (e.g., Giles & Coupland, 1991; Giles et al., 1992). Young and older adults favori ng of goals for procedural topics were also predicted to differ, although not to the same ex tent as for episodic topics because procedural topics were expected to evoke a more objectiv e, detached, and rational speech style suited for telling a scripted and sequenced type of narrati ve. However, procedural topics in the present study were also designed to evoke an autobi ographical memory, and therefore some age differences were expected to be found. Older adu lts were predicted to favor some of the same goals that they favored for episodic topics, in or der to address the autobiographical aspect of the procedural topic, whereas young adults were not expected to favor these same goals, as they would not view personal anecdotes and reminis cence as germane to the topic. Therefore, young adults speech styles were predic ted to be more constrained by th e procedural topic, much like it was for picture descriptions in James et al. (1998). Hypothesis 2. When differences between young and olde r adults goals ar e factored out (i.e., focusing solely on goals shared by the two groups), no age differences were expected in the ability to meet goals. The pragmatic change hypothesis would predict both age groups to be equivalent in their ability to meet the goals that are of primary value to both age groups, as their goals would determine the selec tion of their speech style (e .g., Boden & Bielby, 1983; Giles & Coupland, 1991) for both episodic and procedural to pics. In contrast, th e inhibitory deficit hypothesis would predict older adults to be less successful than young adults at meeting the goals they hold in common because of their inferior effi ciency with suppressing irrelevant information once it has been activated (e.g., Stoltzfus et al., 1996, Zacks & Hasher, 1994). Specifically, goals that require the inhibition of extraneous information (i.e., staying on topic, focus, and clarity),

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19 which are likely to be held primarily for pro cedural topics, would be more difficult for older adults to meet relative to young adults (e.g., Arbuckle & Go ld, 1993; Glosser & Deser, 1992; Juncos-Rabadan, 1996). Hypothesis 3. The ability to accept and utilize new communicative goals, different from ones original goals, was predicted to be more difficult for older adults. There is no clear evidence in the literature about whether co mmunicative goals are chosen consciously or subconsciously. The present research attempted to answer this question by giving specific instructions about which goals should be of primary importance and then assessing whether speech styles were successfully altered by young a nd older adults to fit the new goals. As a function of their age, older adults may have had more time to develop and practice the communicative goals that are the most important to them in different situations (e.g., Boden & Bielby, 1983; Coupland & Coupland, 1995), wher eas young adults goals may be less wellestablished. Therefore, older adu lts would require more effort to adapt to and utilize a new speech style based on instructions about which communicative goals to emphasize. In addition, the inhibitory deficit hypothesis maintains that older adults have more difficulty inhibiting irrelevant information, which in this case would be their original communicative goals. Whether due to an inability (as proposed by the inhib itory deficit hypothesis) or a conscious choice (resistance to changing their origin al goals, which have worked so well for them in the past), older adults were not expected to be able to alter their original goals and meet new ones as well as young adults.

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20 CHAPTER 2 PILOT STUDY AND EXPERIMENT 1 Pilot Questionnaire A pilot questionnaire was completed by young and older adults to assess which communicative goals were of primary importance to each age group, and whether young and older adults favored different goals for the tw o autobiographical topics. The questionnaire was also used to determine which co mmunicative goals were not cons idered of great importance to participants for the two topic t ypes. This latter asse ssment was vital for Experiments 1 and 2 to answer the question of whether communicative goa ls are chosen consciously or subconsciously. By revealing which goals were not of great importance to participants in the pilot study, instructions in Experiment 1 used these goals when asking participants to alter their speech style, ensuring that these were not goals already held by participants. Pilot Method Participants Participants included 43 young adults (ages 18-25) and 38 older adults (ages 75-90). Young adults were recruited from a cognitive psychology class at the University of Florida, and older adults were recruited from the Univer sity of Florida Cogniti on and Aging Laboratory participant pool. All of the olde r adults were from the Gainesv ille area vicinity, and many were recruited from local organizations and from the University of Florida alumni association. Young adults received extra credit point s for their participation, whereas older adults participated on a voluntary basis. Materials The pilot questionnaire consisted of four parts. The first tw o parts were designed to assess self-reported communicativ e goals when telling autobiographi cal narratives with two different

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21 types of topics (e.g., episodic and pr ocedural). Episodic indi cates topics that wi ll elicit a one-time event without a predetermined sequence, experienced at some point in the past, whereas the term procedural designates topics that will elicit a sequenced, script of events that has occurred many times by participants. These topics were chosen to investigate narratives with different purposes for eliciting autobiographical memories. The ep isodic topics were a memorable vacation and a memorable party. The procedural topics were a daily morning routine and a daily evening routine. The topics were introduced at the beginning of the questionnaire to allow participants to generate communicative goals specific to either an episodic or a procedural topic. Order of topics was counterbalanced across particip ants, such that half of the pa rticipants receiv ed the episodic topic in part 1, and the other half received the procedural topic in part 1 (see Appendix A for part 1 and 2 of pilot questionnaire with instructions). The next two parts were designed to assess wh ich of two specifically -paired goals was of more importance to young and older adults. Parts three and four of the questionnaire contained a list of 8 communicative goal pairs, 6 of which we re experimental (clari ty-interest; fascinatingfocus; comprehensible-elaborative; entertainingsimple; logical-stimulating; and educationalobjective) and 2 of which were fillers (humorous-honest, and emotional-imaginative). Order of topics was again counterbalanced across participan ts (see Appendix B for part 3 and 4 of pilot questionnaire with instructions ). The communicative goals were compiled using several of the same dimensions used in James et al. (1998), and pairs were created by pitting goals suited for an expressive speech style (e.g., interest, fascinatin g, elaborative, entertaining, stimulating, and educational) against goals suited for a more objective speech style (e.g., clarity, focus, comprehensible, simple, logical, and objective). These goal pairs were hypothesized to reveal important age differences with respect to whic h goals young and older adu lts value when telling

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22 narratives with episodic and procedural topics The filler goal pairs were included to allow participants to think of add itional aspects of telling a narra tive but were not grounded in any previous research and ther efore were not analyzed. Procedure Older adults were contacted via telephone to assess their interest in filling out the pilot questionnaire. If older adults agreed to complete the questionnaire, it was mailed to their home address via first class postal mail. Young adults received the pilot questi onnaire in class and filled it out on their own time. All participants were asked to complete all parts of the questionnaire in order and were requested to return the quest ionnaire within two weeks of receiving it. Older adults retu rned the questionnaire in a stamped envelope provided by the experimenter, and young adults turned their comp leted questionnaires in to the experimenter. Results The results of the pilot questionnaire were used to determine which communicative goals were of primary value, and which were of little or no value, based on self-reported goals, for the majority of participants for epis odic topics and for procedural t opics. Parts 1 and 2 of the pilot questionnaire revealed that for episodic topics, both young and older adults produced elaborativeness as one of their top three goals, whereas clarity was one of the top three goals produced by both young and older adults for proce dural topics (see Tabl e 2-1). Furthermore, none of the participants in eith er age group produced concisene ss as being an important goal on the self-reported goals of parts 1 and 2 of the questionnaire fo r elaborative topics, whereas goals of being elaborative and detailed were not produ ced by any of the participants for procedural topics. Therefore, instructing part icipants to be concise when telling a narrative with an episodic topic, or to be elaborative for procedural topics in Experiment 1, would in effect be telling them

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23 to alter their goals, or at the ve ry least, to emphasize a goal that is not of great importance to them. Ratings on communicative goal pairs from part s 3 and 4 of the pilot questionnaire were analyzed for comparison with Experiment 1 ratings (taken after narrativ es were produced), and will be reported in the results section of Experiment 1. Experiment 1 The purpose of Experiment 1 was to estab lish the communicative goals favored by young and older adults and to determine whether these goals differed as a functio n of narrative topic. Using ratings from the pilot study for compar ison, Experiment 1 also established whether favoring these goals remained constant after producing narratives. E xperiment 1 was also conducted to acquire two types of autobiographical narratives from young and older adults, with episodic and procedural topics. Although the narrativ es were collected in Experiment 1, analysis of these narratives were used in conjunction wi th the raters in Experiment 2 to provide information about how successful young and older adults were in meeting their self-reported primary goals of elaborativeness and clarity for episodic and procedural topics, respectively. The pragmatic change hypothesis maintains that you ng and older adults communicative goals differ as a function of the speech styles they choose to utilize. Age-rela ted differences in goals held by young and older adults were therefore expected to be revealed in the present study, particularly for episodic topics. Episodic topi cs were expected to produce th e greatest age differences in goals because these topics were relevant to reminiscing about personal life events and have previously been found to elicit differing speech st yles in young and older adults (e.g., Glosser & Deser, 1992; James et al., 1998, ). Procedural to pics were also expected to produce some agerelated differences in goals becaus e older adults were expected to use the autobiographical aspect of these topics to bring in some personal info rmation, whereas young adults were not expected to

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24 do so. However, age differences were expected to be less than for episodic topics, as procedural topics were designed to be more objective, and objective topics have previously been found to elicit similar speech styles in young and older adults overall (e.g., Copper, 1990; Hayslip, 1981, Heller & Dobbs, 1993; James et al., 1998, Ulatowska et al., 1985). Method Participants Participants included 24 young adults, consistin g of 16 females and 8 males (18-21 years; M = 19.8, SD = 1.0) and 24 older adults, consisting of 13 females and 11 males (75-87 years; M = 79.6, SD = 3.5), all of whom had previously filled out the communicative goals questionnaire from the pilot study approximately three weeks to one month earlier. Young adults received extra credit for their participati on, and older adults were paid $8 per hour for their participation. Participants were screened for normal or co rrected-to-normal vision and hearing. The Mini Mental State Exam of cognitive functioning ( MMSE; Folstein, Folstein, & McHugh, 1975) was given to older adults, and participants with a sc ore of 25 and above were allowed to participate ( M = 28.3, SD = 1.6). Background variables, including number of y ears in school, self-a ssessment of health, vocabulary, forward and backward digit span sc ores of working memor y, and self-ratings of number of hours per day spent writing, readi ng, watching TV, and doing cr ossword puzzles were assessed on all participants. Mean s and standard deviation scores for all background variables are shown in Table 2-2. Older adults had more years of education, t( 46) = -2.62, p < .01, higher vocabulary scores, t( 46) = -7.95, p < .01, more hours per day spent watching TV, t( 46) = -2.25, p < .03, and more hours doing crossword puzzles, t( 46) = -2.42, p < .02. Young adults had higher self-ratings on health, t( 46) = 3.02, p < .01, more hours per day spent writing, t( 46) = 3.77, p <

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25 .01, and marginally larger forward digit spans, t( 46) = 1.82, p < .08. There were no age differences on backward digit span a nd number of hours per day spent reading, p s > .48. Materials Four autobiographical topics, two episodic a nd two procedural, were used to elicit narratives. The episodic topics were a memorable vacation they had taken and a memorable party they had hosted or attended. The term epis odic indicates topics that will elicit a one-time event without a predetermined sequence, experienced at some point in the past; similar topics have yielded a wide range of responses from both young and older adults (e.g., James et al., 1998). The procedural topics were their morning routine (i.e., th e steps they took to get ready to come in to the lab that morning) and their evening routine (i.e., the steps they took to get ready for bed the previous evening). The term pr ocedural designates topics that will elicit a sequenced, script of events that has occurred ma ny times by participants, but focuses on the most recent experience. These topics differed from the picture descriptions in James et al. (1998) in that procedural topics include d an autobiographical aspect, wh ich eliminated a potentially confounding variable of why age differences emerge d more for one type of story than the other in James et al. (1998). Participants narratives were recorded using a SONY Digital Voice Recorder. All participants also completed a communicat ive goals questionnaire identical to the one they completed in the pilo t study (see Appendices A and B). Procedure Participants were tested i ndividually by one of three fe male young adult experimenters with whom they were not familiar. An informed consent was administered, which instructed participants that the purpose of the study was to investigate st ory telling about autobiographical memories in young and older adults. After completing the background questionnaires and cognitive tests, the four topics were then given to each participan t with the order of topic type

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26 and the specific topic within topic type counterba lanced across particip ants. The first episodic and procedural topics were given to participants with no instruc tions to alter their communicative goals. Instructions for the episod ic topics were as follows: Tak e a moment to think back on one of the most memorable vacations you have taken. I would like you to describe this vacation to me or Take a moment to think back on one of the most memorable parties you have hosted or attended. I would like you to desc ribe this party to me. Instructions for the procedural topic were as follows: Take a moment to think a bout your daily routine of getting ready in the morning. I would like you to describe this routin e to me, specifically th e steps that you took to get ready to come in to the lab this morning or Take a moment to think about your daily routine of getting ready for bed in the evening. I would like you to describe this routine to me, specifically the steps that you took to get ready to go to bed last night. After telling the first two narratives, particip ants were asked to complete a communicative goals questionnaire, identical to the one they previously filled out in the pilot study, to explore whether participants would be c onsistent in their ratings and reporting of goals after actually telling stories. The questionnaire was given after the first two narra tives had been told, so that it would not affect the way in which participants to ld their stories when us ing their natural goals. After completing the questionnaire, participants we re asked to tell another two narratives, one with an episodic topic and one with a procedur al topic, with order counterbalanced across participants. This time, however, instructions we re aimed at getting participants to alter the speech style with which they told the story by in structing them to use different communicative goals. Instructions for episodic t opics were as follows: Sometimes when we tell narratives in everyday life, we have to alter our communicat ive goals to fit the situation were in. For example, you may need to alter you r goals if you or the person you are talking to is in a hurry.

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27 Take a moment to think back on one of the most memorable vacations you have taken. I would like you to describe this vacation to me, but when describing this narrative, please be as concise as possible. That is, when you describe this memora ble event, try to stick to the point and stay on topic. The instructions were iden tical for both types of episodic to pics, with the exception of the subject (e.g., vacation or party). Instructions for procedural topics were as follows: Sometimes when we tell narratives in everyday life, we ha ve to alter our communi cative goals to fit the situation were in. For example, you may need to be more elaborative and detailed if you are talking about a topic that is unfamiliar to your liste ner. Take a moment to think about your daily routine of getting ready in the morning. I would like you to de scribe this routine to me, specifically the steps that you t ook to get ready to come in to the lab this morning. When describing this routine, please be extremely elab orative. That is, include lots of details and expand on ideas in your narrative. Th e instructions were identical for both types of procedural topics, with the exception of the subject (e.g., morning or evening routine). The instructions to alter goals by being concise on epis odic topics and elaborative on procedural topics were selected based on res ponses on the pilot study questionnaire. Conciseness was not among the goals listed by participants fo r episodic topics, whereas being elaborative and detailed was not among the goals listed by partic ipants for procedural topics on any of the questionnaires. It was therefore presumed that instructing participants to emphasize those particular goals would encourage them to alter their speech style compared to the two narratives they told in the previous condition. Participants were told that their narratives w ould be recorded for fu ture transcription and analysis and that they should speak for 3-5 minut es on each topic. They were reminded to wrap up their narratives if they went over the allotted time. During the telling of the narratives, the

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28 experimenter only spoke in order to clarify any procedural questions from the participants and otherwise simply nodded or responded with y es or no when appropriate. The three experimenters made every effort possible to k eep their comments and gestures uniform across participants. Transcription The digital recordings of all narratives to the topics were transcribed verbatim. These transcriptions were used to obtain word count s and to obtain ratings of quality on various dimensions in Experiment 2. The number of uhs ums, likes, stuttering repetitions, and extraneous comments (e.g., Thats the end of my story) were eliminated, yielding the total number of words spoken per topi c without any disfluencies. Results Variables of interest included speaker ag e group (young, older), topic type (episodic, procedural), instructions (no inst ructions, alter goals), and time of ratings (before narratives, after narratives). Speaker age group was a between-subjects variable, wher eas topic type, instructions, and time of ratings were within -subjects variables. The dependent variable was the mean numeric scale rating given for each goal pair. Goal Ratings For a given experimental goal pa ir, clarity-interest, lower numbe rs on the rating scale (< 4) represent valuing the first-men tioned goal (clarity) more than the second (interest), whereas higher numbers on the rating scale (> 4) represent valuing the s econd-mentioned goal (interest) more than the first (clarity). A rating of 4 mean t that the two goals were valued equally, so onesample t-tests were conducted to analyze whether each age groups mean ratings were significantly different from 4, i ndicating a preference for one goal over the other. Goal ratings were then analyzed in a Speaker Age Group x Topic Type x Time of Ratings ANOVA on the

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29 mean ratings for each of the six experimental goa l pairs. Filler goal pa irs were not analyzed. Analyses for each of the six goal pairs are descri bed below, with a summary of the outcome of these analyses, i.e., young and ol der adults goal preferences, pr esented in Tables 2-3 and 2-4. Clarity-Interest. Mean ratings of clarity-interes t broken down by speaker age group and topic type are shown in Table 2-5. One-sample ttests revealed that young adults had preferences on both types of narratives. For episodic topics, young adults valued interest more than clarity, t( 47) = 13.54, p < .01, whereas for procedural topics, young adults valued clarity more than interest, t( 47) = -17.61, p < .01. In contrast, the t-tests showed that older adults valued interest and clarity equivalently for both episodic topics, t( 47) = 1.56, p > .13, and procedural topics, t( 47) = -0.87, p > .39. The ANOVA revealed that there wa s a main effect of topic type, F( 1,191) = 111.67, MSE = 1.98, p < .01, which was qualified by a speaker age group x topic type interaction, F( 1, 191) = 56.10, MSE = 0.20, p < .01. As shown in Figure 2-1, young adu lts' ratings were higher than older adults for episodic topics, F( 1,95) = 21.03, MSE = 1.97, p < .01, whereas older adults ratings were higher than young adults for procedural topics, F( 1,95) = 36.02, MSE = 1.99, p < .01. No other effects were significant, ps > .31. Fascinating-Focus. Table 2-6 shows the mean ratings of fascinating-focus broken down by speaker age group and topic t ype. One-sample t-tests showed that young adults preferred different goals depending on the type of narrative Young valued fascinating more than focus for episodic topics, t( 47) = -9.70, p < .01, whereas young adults valued focus more than fascinating for procedural topics, t( 47) = 11.68, p < .01. In contrast, the t-test s showed that older adults valued fascinating and focus equivalently for both episodic topics, t( 47) = -1.40, p > .17, and procedural topics, t( 47) = 1.17, p > .25.

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30 A main effect of topic type was shown by the ANOVA, F( 1,191) = 77.94, MSE = 2.39, p < .01, and this effect was qualified by an interact ion. Figure 2-2 reveals that speaker age group interacted with topic type, F( 1, 191) = 31.95, MSE = 0.22, p < .01. Older adults ratings were higher than young adults for episodic topics, F( 1,95) = 11.72, MSE = 2.50, p < .01, whereas young adults ratings were higher than ol der adults for procedural topics, F( 1,95) = 21.14, MSE = 2.28, p < .01. No other effects were significant, ps > .28. Comprehensible-Elaborative. Mean ratings of comprehensible-elaborative broken down by speaker age group and topic type are shown in Table 2-7. One-sa mple t-tests illustrated that for episodic topics, young adults valued elaborative more than comprehensible, t( 47) = 3.97, p < .01, whereas for procedural topics young adults valued comprehens ible more than elaborative, t( 47) = -14.68, p < .01. In contrast, older adults valued co mprehensible more than elaborative for both episodic topics, t( 47) = -5.46, p < .01, and procedural topics, t( 47) = -6.07, p < .01. The ANOVA illustrated that there wa s a main effect of topic type, F( 1,191) = 44.20, MSE = 2.02, p < .01, and a main effect of speaker age group, F( 1,191) = 16.07, MSE = 0.15, p < .01. Both of the main effects were qualified by an in teraction. As demonstrated in Figure 2-3, speaker age group interacted with topic type, F( 1, 191) = 38.96, MSE = 0.21, p < .01, because young adults ratings were hi gher than older adults for episodic topics, F( 1,95) = 44.80, MSE = 2.37, p < .01, whereas older adults ratings were marg inally higher than young adults ratings for procedural topics, F( 1,95) = 3.01, MSE = 1.67, p < .09. No other effects were significant, ps > .39. Entertaining-Simple. Table 2-8 shows the mean ratings of entertaining-simple broken down by speaker age group and topic type. One-sa mple t-tests revealed that for young adults valued entertaining more than simple for episodic topics, t( 47) = -19.90, p < .01, whereas young

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31 adults valued simple more than entertaining for procedural topics, t( 47) = 5.64, p < .01. In contrast, the t-tests showed that older adults valued entertaining more than simple for both episodic topics, t( 47) = -7.27, p < .01, and procedural topics, t( 47) = -2.97, p < .01. A main effect of topic type, F( 1,191) = 102.20, MSE = 1.92, p < .01, and a main effect of speaker age group, F( 1, 191) = 6.26, MSE = .14, p < .01, were qualified by an interaction. Figure 2-4 illustrates that speaker age group interacted with topic type, F( 1, 191) = 47.31, MSE = 0.20, p < .01, because older adults ratin gs were higher than young adults ratings for episodic topics, F( 1,95) = 14.68, MSE = 1.25, p < .01, whereas young adults rati ngs were higher than older adults ratings for procedural topics, F( 1,95) = 32.65, MSE = 2.58, p < .01. No other effects were significant, ps > .40. Logical-Stimulating. Mean ratings of logical-stimul ating broken down by speaker age group and topic type are shown in Table 2-9. One-sample t-tests showed similar patterns for young and older adults. For episodic topics, you ng adults valued logical and stimulating equivalently, t( 47) = 1.57, p > .12, whereas for procedural to pics, young adults valued logical more than stimulating, t( 47) = -17.17, p < .01. Similarly, for episodic topics, older adults valued logical and stimulating equivalently, t( 47) = -1.45, p > .15, but valued logical more than stimulating for procedural topics, t( 47) = -4.16, p < .01. The ANOVA showed that there was a main effect of topic type, F( 1,191) = 49.37, MSE = 2.19, p < .01, qualified by an interaction. As shown in Figure 2-5, speaker age group interacted with topic type, F( 1,191) = 40.33, MSE = 0.21, p < .01, because young adults ratings were higher than older adults ra tings for episodic topics, F( 1,95) = 4.59, MSE = 2.78, p < .04, whereas older adults ratings were higher than young adults ratings for procedural topics, F( 1.95) = 18.37, MSE = 1.59, p < .01. No other effects were significant, ps > .17.

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32 Educational-Objective. Table 2-10 shows the mean rati ngs of educational-objective broken down by speaker age group and topic type One-sample t-tests illustrated that young adults had preferences on both types of narrative s. Young adults valued educational more than objective for episodic topics, t( 47) = -8.06, p < .01, whereas young adults valued objective more than educational for procedural topics, t( 47) = 2.20, p < .03. In contrast, the t-tests showed that older adults valued educational more than objective for episodic topics, t( 47) = -3.38, p < .01, and marginally more for procedural topics, t( 47) = -1.94, p < .06. A main effect of topic type, F( 1,191) = 20.85, MSE = 2.50, p < .01, was illustrated by the ANOVA, and this effect was qualified by an inte raction. Figure 2-6 reveals that speaker age group interacted with topic type, F( 1, 191) = 11.42, MSE = 0.23, p < .01, because older adults ratings were marginally higher than young adults for episodic topics, F( 1,95) = 3.12, MSE = 1.92, p < .08, whereas young adults ratings were higher than older adults for procedural topics, F( 1.95) = 8.47, MSE = 3.07, p < .01. No other effects were significant, ps > .17. Word Count A Speaker Age Group x Topic Type x Instructi ons ANOVA was used to analyze the total number of words spoken. Mean number of wo rds broken down by speaker age group, topic type, and instructions are shown in Table 2-11. A main effect of speaker age group was found, F( 1, 46) = 10.41, MSE = 100,690.06, p < .01, where older adults spoke more words (M = 368.74) than young adults (M = 220.98). As shown in Fi gure 2-7, there was also a Topic Type x Instructions interaction, F( 1, 46) = 35.43, MSE = 746,628.80, p < .01, where speakers produced less words for episodic topics when there were in structions to alter goals and be more concise relative to no instructions to alter goals, F( 1, 47) = 25.72, MSE = 25,702.86, p < .01. In contrast, speakers produced more words for procedural topics when there were instructions to alter goals and be more elaborative relative to no instructions, F(1, 47) = 6.38, MSE = 26,201.45, p < .02.

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33 Alternatively, episodic topics produ ced more words than procedural topics with no instructions, but the opposite pattern emerged when instructions to alter goals were given. No other effects were significant, either with or without age group, ps > .11. Discussion The pragmatic change hypotheses predicted that young and older adults would favor different goals, particularly for episodic topics which are more inviting of expressive speech styles and personal reminiscence than procedur al topics. The results supported the pragmatic change hypothesis, in part, because they revealed that young and older adults did favor different communicative goals for episodic topics and for procedural topics. For episodic topics, older adults were predicted to favor goals suited for a more expres sive speech style, whereas young adults were predicted to favor goals which were in line with a more objective speech style. The results partially supported this prediction, as olde r adults favored some, but not all, goals in line with an expressive speech style; however, they also valued both expressive and objective goals in a goal pair equivalently in several cases. C ontrary to the predictions, young adults almost exclusively favored goals in line with an expres sive speech style for episodic topics. These results suggest that both young and older adults ma y intend to use an expressive speech style suited for telling episodic narratives, but older ad ults have additional goals that enable their stories to be more well-rounded. Perhaps both ex pressive and objective goals are necessary to tell a more enjoyable story (e.g., Ryan et al., 1992; Kemper et al., 1990; James et al., 1998), and older adults have more experience with what makes for a good story as a function of their increased age (e.g., Boden & Bielby, 1983; Kemper, 1992). Additionally, the results indicate that for older adults, comprehensibility is more impo rtant than elaborativeness for episodic topics. Older adults may be more concerned than young adults with comprehensibility, perhaps as a conscious safeguard against going off-topic, an issue with which young adults typically do not

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34 have to be concerned, as suggested by the inhi bitory deficit hypothesi s (e.g., Arbuckle & Gold, 1993; Hasher & Zacks, 1988; West, 1996; Zacks & Hasher, 1994). In accord with the pragmatic change hypothesi s and with experimental predictions, there were also goals for procedural topics on which young and older adults diverged. Young adults exclusively favored goals related to an object ive speech style (e.g., simple, objective), whereas older adults again favored some goals relate d to a more expressi ve speech style (e.g., entertaining, educational) and some related to a more objective speech style. This pattern of results suggests that older adul ts paid greater attention than young adults to the autobiographical aspect of the procedural topics, allowing them to utilize a wider variety of goals. Perhaps older adults emphasized the autobiographical aspect of the procedural topic, allowing them to keep similar goals across topics, because they are inte rested in personal narratives and reminiscence (e.g., Boden & Bielby, 1983; Coupland & C oupland, 1995). In contrast, young adults communicative goals emphasize simplicity and object ivity with the change of narrative topic, suggesting that they may view this topic as le ss autobiographical and mo re objective in nature, similar to picture descriptions. In spite of differences between young and olde r adults goals, they also shared several goals in common for both topics. For episodic topi cs, both young and older adults valued telling entertaining and educational narratives more than telling simplistic and objective narratives. This finding suggests that when telli ng narratives that evoke a one-tim e event from autobiographical memory, such as a favorite vacation, both young and ol der adults prefer to utilize a speech style that leads to an engaging narrative. Perhaps entertaining and educatio nal are valued over simplistic and objective because the memory be ing recalled was a memorable and enlightening event in their lives, and they wanted to convey th is memory to their listeners in a manner suited

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35 to personal narratives (e.g., G iles & Coupland, 1991; Giles et al., 1992). The present results suggest that certain goals are uniformly favored over others across the lifespan when telling a narrative about an episodic topic. Dimensions su ch as entertainment may be a key element when selecting a speech style for such a topic, and age differences may not be in the goals themselves, but in the ability to meet those goals, an issue that will be explored further in Experiment 2. There were also goals for pr ocedural topics on which young a nd older adults agreed. Both age groups valued telling narratives that were co mprehensible and logical more than narratives that were elaborative and stimulating. Compre hensibility was valued over elaborativeness, perhaps as a way to signify that a procedural topi c, such as a daily rou tine, does not necessarily call for a myriad of details to be included, but rather for a narrative that is understandable. Telling a logical narrative was valued above te lling a stimulating narrative, indicating that procedural topics do not necessari ly motivate speakers to tell an exciting story, but rather the nature of the topic lends itself to a speech styl e that emphasizes an orderly sequence of events. Similar to episodic topics, results for procedural topics indicate that there are specific goals that remain consistent across both age groups. Selecti ng a speech style suited for procedural topics appears to be based, in part, on a desire to be comprehensible and logical for both young and older adults. Perhaps those dimensions are more inherent to the topic than other goals because they allow for a speech style that best accomplishes the step-by-step description required to relay a coherent narrative about a daily routine. The word count analyses provided a prelim inary glimpse into young and older adults ability to alter their communicative goals. The re sults showed that both age groups produced less words for episodic topics when told to be concis e than when using their original goals, and they produced more words for procedural topics when told to be elaborative than when using their

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36 original goals. These findings suggests that, at least in terms of words produced, young and older adults were able to inhibit or accentuate their sp eech to meet goals specified for them. However, number of words produced is not necessarily the best indicator of success in terms of being more concise or more elaborative, as it does not answ er the question of what type of speech style was used. For example, James et al., (1998) found that older adults spoke more words than young adults for personal topics, and they were also ra ted higher on interest, informativeness, and story quality, suggesting that their increased talkativen ess may have been a result of the speech style they chose to utilize to make for a better story. The question of whether young and older adults can alter their goals will be expl ored in more detail in Chapter 3. Summary. The results of the present study reveal ed that young adults consistently had more disparity in their goals for episodic versus procedural topics compared with older adults. This finding suggests that young adults communicativ e goals were more affected by the type of autobiographical narrative they were telling rela tive to older adults. Fo r young adults, it appears that telling an autobiographical narrative with an episodic to pic was very different from a procedural topic in terms of wh at communicative goals they valu ed and which speech style they chose to utilize. In contrast, ol der adults goals were identical fo r episodic and procedural topics (with the exception of lo gical-stimulating, where older adults valued them equivalently for episodic topics and logical more than stimulating for procedural topics). The consistency in older adults communicative goals across t opic types indicates that their speech style was less affected by the type of narrative they were telling compared to young adults. According to the pragmatic change hypothesis, young and older adults speech styles differ because they hold different communicative goals, and present research extends this hypothesis by suggesting that age-related differences in speec h styles may also appear because older adults

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37 have a more diverse set of communicative goals relative to young adults. The results revealed that on several dimensions, older adults valued both goals equivalently (e.g., clarity -interest, fascinating-focus). This finding suggests that ol der adults may approach storytelling with more goals in mind than young adults. For example, older adults may utilize a speech style that is both clear and interesting, fascinating, and focused, wh ereas young adults may utilize a speech style that is either clear and focused or interesting and fascinating, de pending on the speech topic. Older adults have typically had more experien ce with telling stories th roughout their life (e.g., Boden & Bielby, 1983; Kemper, 1992), and may s ee the value of having multifaceted goals, whereas young adults may still be developing th eir story-telling skills and therefore have a narrower view of which goals make for the best st ory as well as a more lim ited ability to utilize multiple goals across different narrative topics Finally, it is noteworthy that there were no significant differences in goal ra tings between the pilot study and Experiment 1, suggesting that both young and older adults ratings of their communicative goals remained constant over time, i.e., before and after telling narratives. This finding suggests that people are aware of their communicative goals and are able to reliably report them in different situations. The following chapter will address Experiment 2, which was designed to obtain ratings of the narratives generated in Experiment 1 in or der to shed light on how effective young and older adults were in meeting as well as altering their co mmunicative goals.

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38 Table 2-1. Percentage of time young and older speak ers self-reported goal s among the first three goals produced. Older speakers Young speakers Episodic topics Elaborative 63% Elaborative 92% Interesting 46% Convey emotions 92% Listener comprehension 42% Involving listener 54% Procedural topics Interesting 54% Logical 75% Clarity 52% Clarity 67% Comprehensible 38% Brevity 46%

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39 Table 2-2. Means and standard devi ations for background variables. Variable Speaker age group Mean Standard deviation Years of schooling* Young 14.23 0.98 Older 15.73 2.63 Health rating (max = 10)* Young 8.71 1.16 Older 7.58 1.41 Vocabulary (max = 25)* Young 15.17 3.14 Older 21.38 2.18 Forward digit span** Young 7.42 0.97 Older 6.75 1.51 Backward digit span Young 5.17 1.4 Older 5.04 1.3 Hours per day spent writing (max = 10)* Young 2.58 1.69 Older 1.13 0.85 Hours per day spent reading (max = 10) Young 3.38 2.08 Older 3.21 1.67 Hours per day spent watching TV (max = 10)* Young 1.31 1.23 Older 2.42 2.06 Hours per day spent doing crossword puzzles (max = 10)* Young 0.29 0.86 Older 1.13 1.45 *indicates p < .05 **indicates p < .10

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40 Table 2-3. Young adults goal preferences for episodic and procedural topics. Young adults' goal preference Goal pairs Episodic Procedural Clarity-interest Interest Clarity Fascinating-focus Fascinating Focus Comprehensible-elaborative Elaborative Comprehensible Entertaining-simple Entertaining Simple Logical-stimulating No preference Logical Educational-objective E ducational Objective Table 2-4. Older adults goa l preferences for episodic and procedural topics. Older adults' goal preference Goal Pairs Episodic Procedural Clarity-interest No preference No preference Fascinating-focus No preference No preference Comprehensible-elaborative Comprehensible Comprehensible Entertaining-simple Ente rtaining Entertaining Logical-stimulating No preference Logical Educational-objective Educational Educational Table 2-5. Clarity-interest by sp eaker age group and topic type. Speaker age group Topic typeMean Standard deviation Young Episodic 5.71 0.87 Procedural2.04 0.77 Older Episodic 4.40 1.76 Procedural3.77 1.82

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41 Table 2-6. Fascinating-focus by sp eaker age group and topic type. Speaker age group Topic typeMean Standard deviation Young Episodic 2.5 1.07 Procedural5.73 1.03 Older Episodic 3.6 1.96 Procedural4.31 1.87 Table 2-7. Comprehensible-elaborative by speaker age group and topic type. Speaker age group Topic typeMean Standard deviation Young Episodic 4.79 1.4 Procedural2.15 0.87 Older Episodic 2.69 1.67 Procedural2.6 1.6 Table 2-8. Entertaining-simple by sp eaker age group and topic type. Speaker age group Topic typeMean Standard deviation Young Episodic 1.71 0.8 Procedural5.1 1.35 Older Episodic 2.58 1.36 Procedural3.23 1.82

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42 Table 2-9. Logical-stimulating by sp eaker age group and topic type. Speaker age group Topic typeMean Standard deviation Young Episodic 4.38 1.67 Procedural1.96 0.83 Older Episodic 3.65 1.66 Procedural3.06 1.57 Table 2-10. Educationalobjective by speaker age group and topic type. Speaker age group Topic typeMean Standard deviation Young Episodic 2.71 1.08 Procedural4.52 1.65 Older Episodic 3.21 1.64 Procedural3.48 1.86 Table 2-11. Mean number of words by speaker age group, topic type and instructions. Speaker age group Topic type Instructions Mean number of words Standard deviation Young Episodic No instructions 288 211 Alter instructions 149 93 Procedural No instructions 155 96 Alter instructions 292 162 Older Episodic No instructions 472 299 Alter instructions 278 158 Procedural No instructions 347 291 Alter instructions 378 203

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43 Figure 2-1. Clarity and intere st as a function of topic type by young and older adults. Figure 2-2. Fascinating and focus as a func tion of topic type by young and older adults.

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44 Figure 2-3. Comprehensible and elaborative as a function of topic type by young and older adults. Figure 2-4. Entertaining and simple as a f unction of topic type by young and older adults.

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45 Figure 2-5. Logical and stimulating as a func tion of topic type by young and older adults. Figure 2-6. Educational and objec tive as a function of topic type by young and older adults.

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46 Figure 2-7. Mean number of words spoke n averaged across speaker age group.

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47 CHAPTER 3 EXPERIMENT 2 Purpose Experiment 2 was designed to shed light on young and older adults ability to utilize specific speech styles that (1 ) met communicative goals of primary value to both age groups, and (2) met goals that were specified for them. Th is assessment was made by obtaining ratings on the transcribed narratives given in Experiment 1 from a different group of young and older participants who served as liste ners. The pragmatic change hypothe sis maintains that age-related differences in speech styles are a function of differing communicative goals held by young and older adults. Thus, if young and older adults have a common goal, then they should be equally capable of selecting a speech style to match th at goal. In contrast, the inhibitory deficit hypothesis suggests that age differen ces in speech styles are a func tion of older ad ults inability to inhibit irrelevant information. Thus, meeti ng communicative goals that require inhibition of information would be more difficult for older adu lts, as they would be di stracted by extraneous thoughts and topics not relevant to the goal of interest. The present study analyzed whet her young or older adults were better at meeting two of their primary goals, one for episodic topics and one for procedural topics. The pilot study and Experiment 1 revealed young and ol der adults top three goals for both topic types, one of which they had in common for each topic. Both age gr oups cited elaborativeness as one of their top three goals for episodic topics, and clarity as one of their top three goals for procedural topics. According to the pragmatic change hypothesis, young and older adults select speech styles based on their goals, so there should be no age differences in speech styl es for the goals they hold in common. In contrast, the inhibitory deficit hypothesis pr edicts that young adults would be better than older adults at meeting th e goal of clarity, as the clarity of older adults speech would be

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48 compromised by their inability to inhibit irrelevant information. In contrast, for elaborativeness, the inhibitory deficit hypothesis pr edicts that older adults would be better at meeting this goal than young adults, as older adults speech would al ready be elaborative as a result of their inhibition deficit, and adding the goal of being elaborative would only further enhance the elaborativeness of their speech. Altering speech styles to fit a communicative goal that was contrary to their own goals was expected to be more difficult for older adults than young adults, accord ing to the inhibitory deficit hypothesis. Older adults increased difficu lty with inhibition would make the task of altering goals more difficult because they woul d need to inhibit an automatic process (e.g. speaking using natural goals) in or der to successfully us e alternative goals. Older adults have had more time to develop and use their own goals, which may have become more automatic with practice and experience, making th eir natural speech more difficult to inhibit. Contrary to predictions of meeting older ad ults own goals, these inhibition difficulties were expected to occur independent of topic because the inhibi tion of natural speech was required for both episodic and procedural narratives. The pragmatic change hypothesis does not offer any agerelated predictions with respect to altering co mmunicative goals on cue, as it assumes that young and older adults use their own goals to select a speech style appropriate to the discourse they mean to convey. Method Participants Participants included 30 young adults, consistin g of 20 females and 10 males (18-21 years; M = 18.9, SD = 0.8) and 30 older adults, consisting of 17 females and 13 males (75-87 years; M = 74.3, SD = 5.6). Young and older adults were recruited and compensated in a manner similar to

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49 that of Experiment 1. Participants were screen ed for normal or correct ed-to-normal vision and hearing. Background variables, including ye ars of schooling, health, and self-ratings of time spent writing, reading, watching TV, a nd doing crossword puzzles, were assessed on all participants. Means and standard deviation scores for the b ackground variables are shown in Table 3-1. Older adults reported more years of schooling, t( 58) = -5.67, p < .01, than young adults. Young adults spent more time per day writing than older adults, t( 58) = 4.24, p < .01. There were no age differences on health, or numb er of hours spent reading, wa tching TV, and doing crossword puzzles, p s > .17. Materials The verbatim transcripts of all spoken narr atives produced by the 24 young and 24 older adults in Experiment 1 (two episodic and two pro cedural topics per participant) were read by a female young adult experimenter and recorded on a SONY Digital Voice Recorder. The narratives were recorded in a normal speaking voi ce, and the experimenter read the narratives as if she were reading a story aloud to another pe rson. Disfluencies, stut tering repetitions, and comments given after the story was completed (e .g., Thats the end of my story, Im done) were eliminated. Recorded sets of transcripts we re assigned to rater groups, such that each rater group rated 32 narratives, sixteen from four young speakers (2 ep isodic and 2 procedural per speaker) and sixteen from four older speakers (2 episodic and 2 procedural per speaker). This assignment process yielded six separate rater gr oups each composed of ten raters, five young and five older adults. Transcripts were assigned to rater groups such th at the six sets of transcripts were as similar in length (number of words) as possible within each rater group. Table 3-2 shows the mean number of words for each set.

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50 Booklets containing 32 pages, one page for each narrative in a set, were created. On each page, there were 12 goals, five of which were deemed experimental for the purposes of this experiment. The experimental goals were rela ted to the hypotheses of looking at OTS and included the following: (a) clarity, (b) elaborativ eness, (c) talkativeness, (d) focus, and (e) logical. To the right of each dimension was a 7point scale ranging from 1 (not at all) to 7 (completely). The other seven goals were fillers, as they were not relevant to the experimental questions and were therefore not analyzed. A sample booklet page containing the five experimental goals and seven filler goals is shown in Appendix C. Procedure Participants were tested in groups of fi ve, and they took approximately two hours to complete the ratings. The experimenter informed participants that the study was investigating what makes a good story, and that they would hear 32 recorded transcripts of narratives told by real people that had been transc ribed and re-recorded by the experi menter. Participants were not told whether a young or an older adult was the or iginal speaker of each recorded transcript. Participants were told to evaluate the narratives on a variety of dimensions, which were defined and explained by the experimenter. The experime nter also emphasized that the participants should not base their judgments on the narratives solely on the le ngth of the narrative; both long and short stories could be ranked high or low on any of the dimensions. Participants wrote the number of the story they were rating (e.g., 1 32) on the top of each page of the booklet. Narratives were presented by alte rnating young and older speakers narratives in the same order they were collected in Experiment 1, such that th at the order of topic t ype and the specific topic within topic type were counterba lanced across listeners. The experi menter gave participants as much time as they needed to fill out the ratings and waited until everyone was finished rating a particular narrative before playing the next narrative.

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51 Results Meeting Goals To investigate the question of whether young or older adults were more successful in meeting their shared primary goals, raters assessments of clarity (the common goal for procedural topics) and elaborat iveness (the common goal for ep isodic topics) were analyzed. Independent variables were rater age group (you ng, older), speaker age group (young, older), and topic type (episodic, procedural), and only narratives with no in structions to alter goals were included in these analyses, to capture the eff ectiveness of meeting ones own goals. Rater age group was a between-subjects variable, whereas sp eaker age group and topic type were withinsubjects variables. Larger numbers on the rating scale indicated a higher rating of the dimension (i.e., clearer, more elaborative, etc.) The mean ratings for clarity and elaborativeness by speaker age group and topic type are shown by young raters in Table 3-3 and by older raters in Table 3-4. Clarity. There was a main effect of speaker age group, F( 1,59) = 8.06, MSE = 0.32, p < .01, qualified by an interaction. As shown in Fi gure 3-1, there was a Speaker Age Group x Topic Type interaction, F( 1,59) = 6.18, MSE = 0.24, p < .02, because for episodic topics, young and older speakers were rated equivalently on clarity, F < 1, whereas for procedural topics, young speakers were clearer than older speakers, F( 1,59) = 15,29, MSE = 0.26, p < .01. Young speakers were rated as clearer on procedur al topics than episodic topics, F( 1,59) = 5,18, MSE = 0.30, p < .03, whereas older speakers were ra ted equivalently on clarity for episodic and procedural topics, F < 1. No other effects were significant, p s > .35 Elaborativeness. There was a main effect of speaker age group, F( 1,58) = 14.72, MSE = 0.19, p < .01, because older speakers were more elaborative than young speakers, and a marginally significant main effect of topic type, F( 1,58) = 3.38, MSE = 1.30, p < .07, where

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52 episodic topics were marginally more elaborative than procedural topics. No other effects were significant, p s > .17. Altering Goals Dimensions including talkativeness and ela borativeness were analyzed to address the question of whether young and olde r adults were capable of alte ring their communicative goals to become more concise for episodic topics and more elaborative for procedural topics. Following instructions to alter goals, higher ratings on talkativeness and lower ratings on elaborativeness (relative to no in structions) would indicate that speakers successfully altered their goals. Variables of intere st for these questions includ ed rater age group (young, older), speaker age group (young, older), topic type (episodic, proce dural), and instructions (no instructions, instructions to alter goals). Rater age group wa s a between-subjects variable, whereas speaker age group, topic type, and inst ructions were within -subjects variables. The mean ratings for talkativeness and ela borativeness by speaker age group, topic type, and instructions are shown by young raters in Table 3-5 and by older raters in Table 3-6. Talkativeness. The main effect of rater age group was significant, F( 1,58) = 7.71, MSE = 5.39, p < .01, with older adult raters assigning higher ratings than young adult raters. Significant main effects of speaker age group, F( 1,58) = 28.13, MSE = 0.55, p < .01, and instructions, F( 1, 58) = 5.05, MSE = 0.18, p < .03, occurred but were qualified by a Speaker Age Group x Topic Type x Instructions interac tion (see figures 3-2 and 3-3), F( 1,58) = 20.50, MSE = 0.37, p < .01. For episodic topics without instructions to alte r goals, older speakers were rated as marginally more talkative than young adults, F( 1,59) = 3.13, MSE = 0.35, p < .08, whereas for procedural topics without instructions to alter goals, older speak ers were perceived as significantly more talkative than young speakers, F( 1,59) = 14.69, MSE = 0.49 p < .01. When given instructions to alter goals, older speakers were more talk ative than young speakers for episodic topics, F( 1,59) =

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53 32.04, MSE = 0.50, p < .01, but young and older speakers we re equivalently talkative for procedural topics, F < 1. Comparing the different instru ctions, young speakers were rated as more talkative for episodic topics with no instru ctions than with instructions to alter goals, F( 1,59) = 55.29, MSE = 0.43, p < .01, whereas they were more talk ative for procedural narratives with instructions to alter goals than with no instructions, F( 1,59) = 31.47, MSE = 0.44, p < .01. Similarly, older adults were more talkative for episodic topics with no in structions than with instructions to alter goa ls (but to a lesser extent than young adults), F( 1,59) = 9.77, MSE = 0.37, p < .01, and they were only marginally more talka tive for procedural narratives with instructions to alter goals than with no instructions, F( 1,59) = 3.76, MSE = 0.36, p < .06. Comparing topics, both young speakers, F( 1,59) = 29.61, MSE = 0.47, p < .01, and older speakers, F( 1,59) = 15.56, MSE = 0.28, p < .01, were more talkative on episodic topics than procedural topics with no instructions to alter goals. However, whereas young adults showed the opposite pattern from no instructions to alter goals when given instructions to alter goals, F( 1,59) = 47.07, MSE = 0.50, p < .01, older adults were similarly talkative on episodic and procedural topics with instructions to alter goals, F( 1,59) = 2.34, MSE = 0.41, p > .13. No other effects were significant, p s > .12. Elaborativeness. There were main effects of speaker age group, F( 1,58) = 30.88, MSE = 0.64, p < .01, topic type, F( 1,58) = 12.61, MSE = 0.63, p < .01, and instructions, F( 1,58) = 8.14, MSE = 0.44, p < .01, qualified by a Speaker Age Group x T opic Type x Instructions interaction, F( 1,58) = 23.04, MSE = 0.56, p < .01 (see Figures 3-4 and 3-5). For episodic topics, older speakers were rated as more ela borative than young speakers with no instructions to alter goals, F( 1,59) = 6.87, MSE = 0.50, p < .01, and even more so with instructions to alter goals, F( 1,59) = 49.89, MSE = 0.56, p < .01. For procedural topics with no instructions to alter goals, older speakers were also more el aborative than young speakers, F( 1,59) = 10.60, MSE = 0.70, p < .01,

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54 whereas for procedural topics with instructions to alter goa ls, young and older speakers were similarly elaborative, F( 1,59) = 2.60, MSE = 0.39, p > .11. Comparing different types of instructions, young speakers were more elaborative on episodic topics with no instructions than with instructions to alter goals, F( 1,59) = 48.65, MSE = 0.54, p < .01, as were older speakers but to a lesser extent, F( 1,59) = 5.41, MSE = 0.53, p < .02. In contrast, young speakers were more elaborative on procedural topics with instructions than with no instructions to alter goals, F( 1,59) = 22.36, MSE = 0.52, p < .01, whereas older speakers we re equivalently elaborative on procedural topics with and wit hout instructions to alter goals, F < 1. Comparing topics, for narratives with no instructions to alter goals, young adults were ma rginally more elaborative for episodic topics than for procedural topics, F( 1,59) = 3.63, MSE = 0.62, p < .06, whereas older adults were rated equivalent on el aborativeness for both topic types, F < 1. In contrast, for narratives with instructions to alter goals, young speakers were mo re elaborative for procedural topics than episodic topics, F( 1,59) = 99.99, MSE = 0.49, p < .01, whereas older adults were rated equivalent on elaborativ eness for both topic types, F( 1,59) = 1.00, MSE = 0.53, p > .31. No other main effects or interactions were significant, p s > .26. OTS To address OTS, dimensions including focus a nd logical were analyz ed, using Arbuckle et al.s (1993) definition of OTS as lack of focus and coherence. Lower ratings on focus and logical would therefore indicate more OTS. Variables of interest for these questi ons included rater age group (young, older), speaker age group (young, older), topic type (e pisodic, procedural), and instructions (no instructions, inst ructions to alter goals). Instruc tions was included as a variable of interest to explore whether OTS becomes more apparent when using goals other than ones own. Rater age group was a between-subjects vari able, whereas speaker age group, topic type, and instructions were within-s ubjects variables. The mean ra tings for focus and logical by

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55 speaker age group, topic type, a nd instructions are shown by young raters in Table 3-7 and by older raters in Table 3-8. Focus. There was a main effect of speaker age group, F( 1,58) = 9.81, MSE =0.73, p < .01, which was qualified by an interaction. As shown in Figure 3-6, speaker age group interacted with topic type, F( 1,58) = 9.99, MSE = 0.36, p < .01, because young and older speakers were equivalently rated on focus for episodic topics F < 1, whereas young speakers were seen as more focused than older adults for procedural topics, F( 1,59) = 25.68, MSE = 0.23, p < .01. Within each age group, young speakers were rated as more focused for procedural topics than episodic topics, F( 1,59) = 4.68, MSE = 0.33, p < .04, whereas older speakers focus was equivalent for episodic and procedural topics, F( 1,59) = 2.45, MSE = 0.23, p > .12. No other main effects or interactions were significant, p > .10. Logical. There was a marginally significant main effect of instructions, F( 1,58) = 2.85, MSE = 0.32, p < .09, qualified by an interaction. There was a Speaker Age Group x Instructions x Rater Age Group interaction, F( 1,58) = 4.51, MSE = 0.34, p < .04. For narratives with no instructions to alter goals, young raters equivale ntly rated young and older speakers as logical (i.e., sensible and coherent), F < 1, as did older raters, F( 1,29) = 1.10, MSE = 0.34, p > .30. In contrast, for narratives with inst ructions to alter goals, young ra ters rated young speakers stories as more logical than older speakers, F( 1,29) = 4.73, MSE = 0.17, p < .04, whereas older raters rated young and older speakers similarly F < 1. When comparing the rater groups, young and older raters gave equivalent lo gical ratings to young speakers, F < 1, and to older speakers, F < 1, on narratives with no inst ructions to alter goals. Similarly, for narratives with instructions to alter goals, young speakers storie s were rated equivalently l ogical by young and older raters,

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56 F( 1,59) = 1.12, MSE = 1.04, p > .29, and so were older speakers, F < 1. No other main effects or interactions were significant, p s > .14. Discussion The results of the present study shed light on young and older adults ability to meet as well as alter their communicative goals. No age differences were pr edicted in the ability to meet goals that were of primary importance to both young and older adults; ho wever, this prediction was not supported, as age differences emerged for both topics: Older adults were better at meeting the goal of elaborativen ess for episodic topics, whereas young adults were better at meeting the goal of clarity for pro cedural topics. Older adults were also predicted to have greater difficulty with altering their na tural goals to meet a new goal, and the results support this prediction. Although older adults were capable of accepting new goals for both episodic and procedural topics, they were less su ccessful in doing so than young adults. Age differences in the ability to meet their own goals, when the same goals were valued by both young and older adults, were found in the pres ent study. For procedural topics, young adults were better at meeting the goal of clarity th an older adults, a goal which both age groups considered of primary value. The inhibitory defi cit hypothesis predicted this result as a function of older adults inability to i nhibit irrelevant information, ther eby making their narratives less clear than young adults (e.g., Arbuckle & Gold, 1993; Stoltzfus et al., 1996; Zacks & Hasher, 1994). An alternative explanation is that older adults valuing of multiple goals (i.e., clarity and interest for procedural topics) may have compromi sed their ability to meet the goal of clarity to the same extent as young adults, who favored clarit y over interest for proce dural topics. In this perspective, older adults do not necessarily have an inhibition deficit, but rather they may include more information in their procedural topics based on other goals that they hold, making their narratives less clear.

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57 The opposite pattern emerged for episodic topi cs, where older adults were better than young adults at meeting their shared goal of elab orativeness. The inhibi tory deficit hypothesis suggests that this finding is a result of older a dults inability to inhibit extraneous information, thereby making their narratives more elaborative. However, young and older adults were rated as clear equivalently on episodic topics. This finding suggests that older ad ults were not simply inserting irrelevant information into their narra tives, which would make their narratives unclear, but rather they were meeting thei r goal of elaborativeness by inse rting information appropriate to the topic while remaining clear and easy to follow. The results also imply that there may be less stringent criteria for what constitutes unclear information on episodic topics, because more details are expected to be produced on these types of narratives. The results for both episodic and procedural t opics were in contrast to the pragmatic change hypothesis, which maintains that young and ol der adults speech styles should be similar if they have common goals (e.g., Gile s & Coupland, 1991; Hymes, 1972; Labov, 1969). However, age differences could be due to the fa ct that although young and older adults shared a primary goal, they did not necessarily share all of their other goals for either topic. For example, as described above, the ability to meet clarity to the same extent as young adults for procedural topics may have been compromised by older adu lts desire to also tell an interesting and fascinating narrative, whereas young adults favo red telling a focused an d clear narrative. In assessing young and older adu lts ability to alter their or iginal communicative goals, speakers were told to be concise for episodic topi cs and to be elaborative for procedural topics. The ability to meet these goals was assessed by talkativeness and elaborativeness ratings on narratives with and without instru ctions to alter goals. As pred icted by the inhibitory deficit hypothesis, young adults were better than older adults at alteri ng their goals to become more

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58 concise, although both groups successf ully altered their speech styl es. Older adults ability to become less talkative and less elaborative on episodi c topics when instructed to become concise suggests that their inhibition process is efficien t enough to select a speech style suited for the goal they were told to emphasize. However, since they were not as proficient at this task as young adults, older adults may have had more diff iculty inhibiting their primary goal of wanting to be elaborative and detailed, or they may simply not have wanted to eliminate too many details because of the value they place on reminiscing and telling personal na rratives (e.g., Boden & Bielby, 1983; Coupland & Coupland, 1995). For procedural topics, young adults were again successful in altering th eir goals to become more elaborative, both in terms of ratings of talkativeness and elaborativenesss. However, older adults were not viewed as more elaborative for pr ocedural topics following instructions to alter their goals, and they were rated as only marginally more talkative. In contrast to episodic topics, these findings suggest that older adults were no t successful at taking on new goals of being more elaborative and detailed for proce dural topics. There are several potential explanations for this finding. Older adults may have had a clearer idea about the appropriate amount of details to include for procedural topics than young adults, and they did not want to violate this basic rule. Another reason for the results coul d be that older adults may have already included all the details in their procedural narratives using their natural go als, and therefore further elaboration was more difficult for them than for young adults, who were less elaborative th an older adults when using their own goals. Finally, the idea of adding additional details to their narratives may have caused discomfort in older adults, as they may have recognized th eir potential for being perceived as off-topic in certain situations and did not want to encourage that view.

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59 These findings suggest that communicative goals can be under conscious control and altered at will (e.g., Boden & Bielby, 1983; Giles & Coupland, 1991), implying that speech styles are selected based on a c onscious awareness of the type of discourse that young and older adults plan to produce. Whether older adults were le ss proficient at altering their goals relative to young adults because they were having more diffic ulty with inhibiting their natural goals, or whether they simply felt compelled to meet thei r primary goals cannot be teased apart in the present data. The present experiment also addressed OTS, both in terms of amount produced with natural goals and with altered goals. When us ing their own goals, young and older adults were equivalently focused and logical (defined as sensible and coherent) for episodic topics, suggesting that OTS was not more pronounced for older than young speakers. In contrast for procedural topics, young adults narratives were rated as more focused than older adults narratives (but no less logi cal), which is consistent with in creased OTS for older speakers. Agerelated differences in communica tive goals may explain these fi ndings. Young adults goals were aimed at producing an expressive speech style fo r episodic topics, while older adults goals were a mixture between goals suited for an expressive and an objective speech style. Previous research has shown that age differences in OTS are typi cally found for narratives where the speakers autobiographical experience is relevant (e.g., James et al., 1998). Young adults were consciously trying to be more expressive, wh ich could have boosted their leve l of OTS to be equivalent to that of older adults. The goals held by young and ol der adults also suggest that older adults may have viewed autobiographical info rmation as being more relevant to the procedural topics than young adults. Young adults goals reflected a pref erence for a more objective speech style for procedural topics, suggesting th at they found autobiographical re miniscing irrelevant to the

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60 description of a daily routine. Therefore, as a result of young and older adults different communicative goals held for procedural topics, older adults produced speech that was relatively higher in OTS than young adults. According to previous research, older adults speech has more OTS than young adults, (e.g., Arbuckle & Gold, 1993, Gold et al., 1988; Gold et al., 1994) because of an age-related decline in an inhibition process needed to suppress irrelevant information (e.g., Arbuckle & Gold, 1993; Hasher & Zacks, 1988; Stoltzfus et al., 1996; West, 1996; Zacks & Hasher, 1994). Therefore, more OTS might be expected fo r altered goals (e.g., when the inhibition of natural goals is needed to succeed on the task). When meeting new goals, the same pattern of results was found as when ones own goals were us ed, with the exception that older adults were perceived as less logical than young adults by young raters only, for both episodic and procedural topics. Both young and ol der adults narratives were as focused for their new goals as they were when using their natural goals, sugge sting that staying on t opic was not problematic for either age group. However, altering natural goals may have changed older adults speech style just enough for young raters to consider it less logical, whereas older raters did not detect this difference, suggesting that young raters criteria for coherent narratives is more stringent than that of older adults. This difference in crit eria fits with the result s of James et al. (1988), where young, but not old, raters viewed young speak ers as being more focused than older speakers. The results of the present study may contra dict previous resear ch because OTS was assessed via listener ratings of dimensions though t to make up OTS, whereas previous research has defined OTS using categorizations imposed by experimenters, which are subject to experimenter biases (e.g., Ar buckle & Gold, 1993; Gold et al., 1994; Glosser & Deser, 1992;

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61 James et al., 1998; Juncos-Rabadan, 1996). OTS in previous research has typically been categorized in terms of number of words that were off-topic, and what constituted words that were off-topic was ultimately left up to the ex perimenter (e.g., Arbuckle & Gold, 1993; James et al., 1998). In contrast, the present study looked at OTS from the listen ers perspective in terms of how on-topic and coherent they felt the speaker s narratives were. This assessment of OTS is advantageous because it takes the whole narrat ive into account when judging how focused and coherent a speaker was, rather than separately examining each sentence of the story for off-topic speech, without knowing how it might tie in to something relevant later in the narrative. It is worth noting that the age of the raters had little effect on the results of the present study, consistent with previous research (e.g., Ja mes et al., 1998). This finding suggests that the criteria held by raters for the different goal dimensions changes very little across the lifespan. There may be a relatively standard way for assess ing what makes a story high or low on different dimensions, and this standard is similar across di fferent ages. These results suggest that future research does not necessarily need both young and older raters to assess story quality, as their assessments are remarkably similar on multiple dimensions. Summary. Overall, the results of the present st udy provided interest ing patterns of age differences in terms of meeting and altering goals and also in terms of capturing OTS from a new perspective. With respect to meeting goals, the inhibitory deficit hypoth esis was supported as young adults more effectively met the goal of clar ity than older adults for procedural topics, whereas older adults more effectively met the go al of elaborativeness for episodic topics. The inhibitory deficit hypothesis was also supported in terms of young and ol der adults ability to alter their goals. Young adults pr oved more successf ul than older adults at altering their natural goals to meet new ones. However, the reason th at older adults were less successful than young

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62 adults in altering their goals is not necessarily du e to an inhibition deficit. The results could be due to a weaker inhibition proce ss, a stronger desire for older adu lts to meet their natural goals, or a combination of both explanations. However, the inhibitory deficit hypothesis was not supported with respec t to its predictions about OTS. Age differences in OTS were only f ound for procedural topics Episodic topics may not have yielded any age diffe rences in OTS because young adults communicative goals for episodic topics were almost exclusively favori ng an expressive speech style, whereas older adults goals were more mixed between an e xpressive and objective speech style. The age differences in OTS for procedural topics may ha ve been a result of ol der adults desire to enhance the autobiographical aspe ct of the topics, whereas young adults pursued the topic in a more objective way, as indicated by their commun icative goals, similar to the way they might describe a picture (e.g., James et al., 1998). The following chapter will provide an overa ll summary of both studies and discuss limitations of the present research as well as new directions for future research.

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63 Table 3-1. Means and standard deviations for background variables in Experiment 2. Variable Speaker age Mean Standard deviation Years of schooling* Young 13.4 1.07 Older 17.02 3.32 Health rating (max = 10) Young 7.97 1.54 Older 8.23 1.28 Hours per day spent writing (max = 10)* Young 2.55 1.7 Older 1.04 0.84 Hours per day spent reading (max = 10) Young 2.97 1.55 Older 2.64 1.37 Hours per day spent watching TV (max = 10) Young 2.24 2.13 Older 2.81 1.84 Hours per day spent doing crossw ord puzzles (max = 10) Young 0.21 0.68 Older 0.54 1.07 indicates p < .05 Table 3-2. Characteristics of the six se ts of transcripts in Experiment 2. Mean no. words Young speakers Older speakers Set M SD M SD 1 1082 874 1523 1314.5 2 999 637.6 1527 992.5 3 855 347.8 1514 901.1 4 879 340.7 1521 879.4 5 896 342.6 1549 616.4 6 917 298.6 1501 464.2

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64 Table 3-3. Young and older speakers on clarity and elaborativeness by young raters in Experiment 2. Episodic Procedural Young Older Young Older Dimension M SD M SD M SD M SD Clarity 4.15 0.92 4.14 0.77 4.47 0.81 4.08 0.78 Elaborativeness 4.06 0.86 4.43 0.87 3.61 1.16 4.19 1.04 Table 3-4. Young and older speakers on clarity and el aborativeness by older raters in Experiment 2. Episodic Procedural Young Older Young Older Dimension M SD M SD M SD M SD Clarity 4.34 0.90 4.25 0.96 4.48 0.92 4.14 1.09 Elaborativeness 4.14 1.14 4.45 0.96 4.04 1.45 4.46 1.12

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65 Table 3-5. Young and older speakers on talkativ eness and elaborativeness by young raters in Experiment 2. Episodic Procedural Young Older Young Older Dimension Instructions M SD M SD M SD M SD Talkativeness None 4.28 0.73 4.73 0.89 3.54 0.92 4.13 0.91 Alter 3.39 1.03 4.19 1.11 4.41 0.91 4.42 0.94 Elaborativeness None 4.06 0.86 4.43 0.87 3.61 1.16 4.19 1.04 Alter 3.23 0.73 4.13 1.16 4.38 0.91 4.08 0.89 Table 3-6. Young and older speakers on talkativen ess and elaborativeness by older raters in Experiment 2. Episodic Procedural Young Older Young Older Dimension Instructions M SD M SD M SD M SD Talkativeness None 5.01 0.92 4.94 1.06 4.38 1.24 4.78 1.03 Alter 4.13 1.27 4.79 1.01 4.88 0.97 4.92 1.09 Elaborativeness None 4.14 1.14 4.45 0.96 4.04 1.45 4.46 1.12 Alter 3.09 1.15 4.13 1.11 4.51 1.30 4.45 1.16

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66 Table 3-7. Young and older speakers on focus a nd logical by young raters in Experiment 2. Episodic Procedural Young Older Young Older Dimension Instructions M SD M SD M SD M SD Focus None 4.20 0.99 4.12 1.05 4.77 1.06 4.25 0.77 Alter 4.59 1.06 4.50 0.89 4.72 0.97 4.18 0.85 Logical None 3.86 0.82 3.94 0.93 4.16 1.20 4.02 0.87 Alter 4.17 1.14 4.13 1.02 4.11 1.08 3.68 0.92 Table 3-8. Young and older speakers on focus and logical by older raters in Experiment 2. Episodic Procedural Young Older Young Older Dimension Instructions M SD M SD M SD M SD Focus None 4.73 0.96 4.42 1.20 4.81 1.13 4.37 1.22 Alter 4.45 1.36 4.63 1.12 4.58 1.34 4.32 1.28 Logical None 4.18 0.94 3.94 1.22 4.19 1.05 4.11 1.23 Alter 3.82 1.19 4.06 1.01 3.90 1.20 3.83 1.02

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67 Figure 3-1. Clarity for the Speaker Age Group x Topic Type interac tion. Range: 1 = not at all; 7 = completely.

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68 Figure 3-2. Episodic Topics: Talkativeness for the Speaker Age Group x Topic Type x Instructions interaction. Range: 1 = not at all; 7 = completely. Figure 3-3. Procedural topics: Talkativene ss for the Speaker Age Group x Topic Type x Instructions interaction. Range: 1 = not at all; 7 = completely.

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69 Figure 3-4. Episodic topics: Elaborativeness for the Speaker Age Group x Topic Type x Instructions interaction. Range: 1 = not at all; 7 = completely. Figure 3-5. Procedural topics: Elaborativene ss for the Speaker Age Group x Topic Type x Instructions interaction. Range: 1 = not at all; 7 = completely.

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70 Figure 3-6. Focus for the Speaker Age Group x Topic Type interaction. Range: 1 = not at all; 7 = completely.

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71 CHAPTER 4 DISCUSSION The results of my studies provide empirical evidence to support previous research, which claims that young and older adults speech styl es differ as a function of their communicative goals (Giles et al., 1991; Hymes, 1972; Labov, 1969), and that thes e goals can shap e the style of discourse a person may choose to utilize in di fferent contexts (Hummert, 1994; Kemper, 1994; Ryan et al., 1986). My studies quantified young and older adults' communicative goals, which differed as a function of the type of autobiographi cal narratives they intend ed to tell. In addition, young and older adults demonstrated differential cap abilities for meeting as well as altering their goals, i.e., using goals th at were not their own. Hypothesis 1 of the present study addressed the question of whether young and older adults communicative goals diffe red as a function of age and topic type. The results of Experiment 1 suggest that young adults commun icative goals were sh aped by the topic of discourse more so than older adults, who select ed almost identical goals for both topic types. Furthermore, older adults consistently favor ed a more comprehensive set of communicative goals than did young adults, regardless of the topi c of discourse that they planned to produce. This research extends the predictions of the pragmatic change hypothesis by suggesting that not only do young and older adults communicative goals differ, but age-related differences in speech styles may also be a function of olde r adults relatively comprehensive goals. Older adults may hold more communicative goals than young adults because the variety of goals they hold enable them to tell more enjoyable stor ies than young adults (e.g., Ryan et al., 1992; Kemper et al., 1990) as well as more interesti ng, informative, and higher-quality stories (e.g., James et al., 1998). Older adults may recognize the value of holding multifaceted goals as a result of their increased experi ence and practice with telling stor ies, relative to young adults, who

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72 may still be developing their communicative goals and story-telling skills (e.g., Boden & Bielby, 1983; Kemper, 1992). The different pattern of results found for young and older adults selection of goals provides evidence for the pragmatic change hypothesis, which stat es that young and older adults hold different goals, which in turn results in the use of different speech styles. There are several possible explanations for why older adults have different communicative goals than young adults. One is that through year s of practice and experience, ol der adults are more confident about their communicative goals, and rather than tailoring their goals to the specific topic of conversation, they prefer to adapt the discourse topic to fit their communi cative goals, which are well-engrained, easy to invoke, and typically lead to high-quality stories. This explanation is supported by older adults superior story telling ability, (e.g., Jame s et al., 1998; Kemper et al., 1989; Kemper et al., 1990; Prat et al., 1991), whic h indicates that older adults know which goals make for a good story, and therefore choose to utilize these goals across multiple discourse topics. Another explanation is that selecting goals on the basis of t opic is an extra burden placed on working memory during speech production, so older adults default to a single set of goals to allow them capacity to focus on the content of what is to be recalled (e.g., Stoltzfus et al., 1996; Zacks & Hasher, 1994). However, if older adults use only one set of goals, then their speech styles should be identical for all types of discourse, but previous research has contradicted this claim (e.g., James et al., 1998). Hypothesis 2 of my study was concerned with ag e differences in the ability to meet goals that were of primary value to both young and olde r adults, and this hypoth esis was addressed in Experiment 2. Young and older adults both reported clarity as one of their primary goals for procedural topics, and the results showed that yo ung adults were better at meeting this goal than

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73 older adults. This finding was consistent with the inhibitory deficit hypothesis, which maintains that older adults cannot inhib it irrelevant information from being produced, which in turn sacrifices the clarity of thei r narratives (e.g., Arbuckle & Go ld, 1993; Stoltzfus et al., 1996; Zacks & Hasher, 1994). However, this explanatio n cannot explain why older adults narratives were as clear as young adults narratives for episodic topics. Perhaps young adults superior ability to produce a clear narrative for procedural topics is a function of older adults more comprehensive set of goals. Older adults may tell a narrative that is not quite as clear as young adults narratives in order to meet the additiona l goals they may hold (e.g., telling an interesting story). This explanation is also consistent with previous rese arch, which found that young adults typically produced clearer narrat ives while older adults produced more interesting narratives (e.g., James et al., 1998). When telling an episodic narrative, elabor ativeness was reported by both young and older adults as being a primary goal, and now older ad ults were better than young adults at meeting this goal. The inhibitory defi cit hypothesis would explain this finding by suggesting that older adults inability to inhibit extr aneous information from being produced would allow them to tell narratives that are more elabor ative (e.g., Arbuckle & Gold, 1993; Stoltzfus et al., 1996; Zacks & Hasher, 1994). However, adding irrelevant in formation should decrease the clarity of the narratives, but older adults epis odic narratives were rated as clear and easy to follow as narratives produced by young adults. Since older adu lts goal of ela borativeness did not sacrifice the clarity of their narratives relative to young a dults, it is unlikely that their elaborativeness came from irrelevant information and instead re sulted from additional details relevant to the topic. It is noteworthy that young adults listed elaborativeness overwhelmingly as a primary goal for episodic topics, but they r eceived relatively low ratings on this dimension by both young and

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74 older raters. This finding suggest s that although young adults value elaborativeness, they are not very good at including details and expanding on ideas in their narratives. Perhaps an elaborative speech style is developed throughout the life sp an and becomes more pronounced with aging, or perhaps the idea of what elaborativen ess consists of changes over time. At first glance, the findings related to H ypothesis 2 also appear to contradict the predictions of the pragmatic cha nge hypothesis, which maintains that speech styles are a function of communicative goals (e.g., Boden & Bielby, 1983; Giles & Coupland, 1991). If young and older adults both hold clarity a nd elaborativeness as their primary goals for procedural and episodic topics respectively, then the pragmatic change hypothesi s would predict no differences in speech styles. The results of the present research did find differences in speech styles. However, it is important to recall that while young and older adults had one of their primary goals in common for both topic type s, they did not share all of th eir goals. Therefore, the goals that were different for young and older adults may be the cause of age-rela ted differences in the ability to meet their shared goa ls, which is consistent with the pragmatic change hypothesis. Hypothesis 3 of the present study was concer ned with young and older adults ability to inhibit their original goals in or der to meet a goal that was specified for them. When instructed to accept new goals, both young and older adults were capable of becoming less talkative and elaborative for episodic topics, but young adults were better than older adults at meeting this goal. The results also showed an ability to alte r speech styles for procedural topics, but only for young adults, who increased their level of talkativ eness and elaborativene ss. In contrast, older adults showed no increase in th eir elaborativeness and were only marginally more talkative on procedural topics, following in structions to alter their goa ls. These findings support the inhibitory deficit hypothesis, which states that ol der adults difficulty with inhibiting information

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75 would hinder their ability to al ter their goals (e.g., Arbuckle & Gold, 1993; Stoltzfus et al., 1996; Zacks & Hasher, 1994). However, although young adults were better at altering their goals, older adults also showed some inhibition of their desire to be elaborativ e in order to meet an alternate goal. This finding, particularly the ability to be come more concise (which is in direct opposition with the idea of increased OTS with age), suggest s that older adults inhibition deficits may not be as severe as previous lite rature suggests (e.g., Arbuckle & Gold, 1993; Stoltzfus et al., 1996; Zacks & Hasher, 1994). The present study did not inves tigate OTS directly; however, se veral aspects of the results speak to previous OTS literature. Dimensions in cluding focus (defined as staying on topic) and logical (defined as sensible a nd coherent) were used to shed light on the issue of OTS in the present study. As defined by Ar buckle et al (1993), OTS is speech lacking in focus and coherence. Furthermore, Arbuckl e et al. (2000) proposed that OTS is caused by the intrusion of irrelevant personal information, such as in a c onversation about autobiographical subject matter. If older adults were to have more OTS than young adults in the presen t study, then they would have been rated lower on the focus an d logical dimensions than young adults. Interestingly, the results of th e present study show that for ep isodic topics similar to those used in previous studies, young and older adults were rated as equally focused and logical, suggesting that older adults did not have more OTS than young adults for these types of topics. These results are inconsistent wi th the inhibitory de ficit hypothesis, which predicts that older adults would have more OTS than young adults due to their inability to inhibit random thoughts and topics from coming out in th eir stories. The results are also inconsistent with previous studies claiming that older adults have more OTS and less effective communication skills than young adults (e.g., Arbuckle et al., 2000; Glosser & Deser, 1992). However; the results could

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76 potentially be reconciled with previous work if the definition of OTS was measured purely in terms of listeners perceptions of how well young a nd older adults narratives remained focused and coherent across studies. The results of the present studies were also in consistent with James et al.s (1998) findings that young raters rated older speake rs as less focused than older speakers, whereas older raters rated them as equivalently focused. There was no effect of rater age on focus ratings in the present experiment for either topic type. This finding could be related to the method used to present the narratives. In James et al. (1998), participants read wr itten forms of the narratives, whereas they listened to orally-presented narrat ives in the present study. Perhaps hearing a story is a more comparable experience for young and older raters because they perceive the information presented in the exact same way (e.g., voice, intonation, prosody, emphasis on particular words, etc.) and use these auditory cues to adopt similar criteria for what constitutes focus. In contrast, when reading narratives, youn g and older adults do not have the advantage of these auditory cues and may process the texts di fferently, which could ultimately affect whether they view information in the narr ative to be on-topic (i.e., focuse d). In sum, the findings of the present research provide evidence against the OTS literature, which suggests that older adults are more prone to producing speech that lacks in focus and coherence (e.g., Arbuckle & Gold, 1993; Gold et al., 1988; Gold & Arbuckle, 1995; Gold et al, 1994). The present results suggest that older adults are not necessarily producing OTS, but rather speech that is in line with their communicative goals, which have been develope d through a lifetime of experience with what makes for a good story. In contrast to episodic topics, older adults were rated as being less focused than young adults for procedural topics, but they were also rated as bei ng equivalently logical. Perhaps

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77 procedural types of narrative have a more stringent defini tion of what is considered on topic, as listeners may not have expected much personal in formation for this topic. These findings also speak to the subjectivity of deciding what shoul d and should not be considered off topic. For example, young speakers may have viewed personal an ecdotes as off-topic fo r procedural topics, whereas older speakers may have viewed them as germane to the topic, given that they were grounded in an autobiographical me mory. When presented with a pr ocedural topic, older adults valued telling a fascinating story to the same extent as telling a focused narrative, so it is possible that their ratings on focus may have been co mpromised by their additional goal of being fascinating, similar to th e earlier claim of sacrificing clarity fo r interest when telling procedural narratives. This finding supports the pragmatic change hypothesis, which suggests that age differences in speech styles, such as the ones seen in the present study, are due to a difference in communicative goals held by young and older adults (e.g., Boden et al., 1983; Giles et al., 1991). Future research should continue to explor e the differences, both actual and perceived, between young and older adults speech styles. Th e present research shows that communicative goals vary greatly with age, and that despite th e negative beliefs about older adults speech styles (e.g., Arbuckle & Gold, 1993; Glosse r & Deser, 1992; Gold et al ., 1988; Gold & Arbuckle, 1995; Gold et al., 1994), they are consid ered superior story-tellers (e .g., Ryan et al., 1992; Kemper et al., 1990; James et al., 1998). Future research might explore what types of factors make for a good story and whether these factors can be trace d back to the speakers communicative goals. Furthermore, investigating whether good story-telli ng is a skill than can be taught, or whether it only comes with years of practice and experience is another question for future exploration. Finally, future research on OTS needs to addr ess the issues of diffe ring communicative goals found in the present studies. C ontinuing to promote the idea that OTS is an issue related to

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78 cognitive decline with old age (e.g., Zacks et al., 1994), without accounting for other studies finding no age differences in OTS, is problematic as it unfairly endorse s negative beliefs about older adults language skills. The current studies had several limitations. One is the inclusion of a lenient definition for older when defining older adults. There may be important differences with respect to communicative goals held, the ability to meet goals the ability to alter go als, and in OTS, among people who are in their 60s, 70s, and 80s, whic h were not captured in the present research. Future research may look at differences among adults in their 60s, 70s, and 80s, and whether those potential differences reveal a pattern of results different from what was found in the present research. Perhaps differences more in lin e with the inhibitory deficit Hypothesis will be found in the oldest-old (i.e., ages 80 and above ) of the population, when cognitive declines may be more prominent (e.g., Zacks & Hasher, 1994). Th e oldest-old may have more difficulty with selecting appropriate goals to suit the speech style for the discourse they intend to produce. They may also be less successful than younger adults in meeting their chosen go als, and they may be unable to alter their goals at will, due to an in efficient inhibition system caused by their increased age (e.g., Stoltzfus et al., 1996; Zacks & Hasher, 1994). Older adults over age 80 are also more likely to have dementia that has not yet been di agnosed, so it is important to separate healthy older adults from adults with pathologi cal diseases when testing this age group. Another limitation of the current research is the failure to take into account both personality and social characteristics when assessing young and older adults communicative goals and speech styles. For example, people wi th extraverted personalities and large social networks may have a different way of communicati ng than introverted peopl e with smaller social networks, and their speech styles may differ as a function of their pe rsonalities and social

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79 circumstances even when holding the same comm unicative goals. Similarly, gender of speaker and listener could play an important role in a ssessing differences in sp eech styles, as could cultural backgrounds. In addition to cognitive factors, future research investigating communicative goals and OTS across the lifespan should also include personality traits and social factors, such as extraversion, socioeconom ic status, size of social network, etc., which could potentially influence speech styles. The present research is also limited in that it only explored a sma ll subset of possible communicative goals. Other goals may be important for understanding age-re lated differences in speech styles. For example, humor might be an in teresting dimension to i nvestigate, as it could potentially influence (both positively and negati vely) how narratives are produced as well as perceived. Young and older adults are likely to have different sense of humors, and even within these groups, individuals senses of humor vary greatly. Additionally, pragmatic goals, such as including the listener in the di scourse by making eye-contact, as king questions, and encouraging feedback, should be explored to assess their e ffects on speech styles and effectiveness on listener ratings. A final limitation is that the speakers narratives were not analyzed directly. An important follow-up to the present research is to analyze different components of the narratives produced by the speakers. For example, narratives with pro cedural topics could be analyzed in terms of their inclusion of personal information and remi niscence to explore whether older adults did indeed include more autobiographical informa tion than young adults, as suggested by their communicative goals. Additionally, narratives could be analyzed in terms of the types of information young and older adults c hose to eliminate when told to be concise, as well as the types of information they chose to expand upon wh en told to be elaborate. This information

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80 would reveal the information that young and older adults consider vital versus superfluous to their narratives, which would be useful for gaining insight about what makes a good story. In sum, the purpose of the present research was to shed light on communicative goals held by young and older adults and the ways in which these goals affect how each age group conveys information of an autobiographical nature. Comm unication is arguably one of the most important aspects of everyday life and is universally utilized across the lifespa n. Communication is not only necessary for the concise exchange of info rmation, but it also allows for a chance to reminisce about ones life. The present resear ch suggests that olde r adults ability to communicate is enhanced by their selection of goa ls, and when elaboration is encouraged, we become more capable of meeting our goals as we age. Thus, contrary to negative perceptions about older adults speech, older adults have some advantages in their production of discourse.

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81 APPENDIX A PARTS 1 & 2 OF PILOT QUESTIONNAIRE Part 1: Communication is an extremely important pa rt of our everyday lives. The goal of communication is essentially to transmit or shar e ideas or information. Everyone has their own individual communicative goals and we are interested in finding out what yours are. This questionnaire assesses your communicative goals in tel ling a narrative about your daily routine. Close your eyes fo r a minute and recall one of your da ily routines, such as getting ready in the morning, or getti ng ready for bed at night. Try to picture yourself going through one of your daily routines and imagine describing this routine to a new person that you have just met. Which communicative goals would be important fo r you to convey when telling this type of narrative? Please list at leas t 4 communicative goals in orde r of their importance to you. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

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82 Part 2: This questionnaire assesses your communicative goals in te lling a narrative about an episode in your life. Close your eyes for a minute and recall a memorable even t in your life, such as a memorable vacation you have taken or a me morable party you have a ttended. Try to picture yourself being back at that ev ent, and imagine describing this event to a new person that you have just met. Which communicative goals woul d be important for you to convey when telling this type of narrative? Please li st at least 4 communicative goals in order of their importance to you. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

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83 APPENDIX B PARTS 3 & 4 OF PILOT QUESTIONNAIRE Part 3: On the following questionnaire, we are interested in finding out how you would rate specific communicative goals in terms of their importance to you when telling a narrative about your daily routine. Close your eyes for a minute and recall one of your daily routines, such as getting ready in the morning, or getting ready for bed at night. Try to picture yourself going through one of your daily routines and imagine describing this routine to a new person that you have just met. On the following pages you will see a list of communicative goal pairs. Please circle a number between 1 and 7 for each communicative goal pair, based on which one of the two communicative goals listed is most important to you when telling a narrative about your daily routine. Here is an example: Complex 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Relevant telling a narrative that telling a narrative that is multifaceted is personally meaningful How do you determine which number to circle? In this example, the numbers 1, 2, and 3 represent valuing telling a Complex narrative more than telling a Relevant narrative, with the number 1 indicating the strongest value on telling Complex narratives. The numbers 5, 6, and 7 represent valuing telling a Relevant narrative more than telling a Complex narrative, with the number 7 indicating the strongest value on telling Relevant narratives. The number 4 should be circled if you value both communicative goals equally. Please begin circling on the next page

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84Circle a number between 1 and 7 for each of the following communicative goal pairs: Clarity 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Interest telling a narrative that telling a narrative that keeps is understandable, the listeners attention and straightforward, and makes the listener want to unambiguous hear more Fascinating 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Focus telling a narrative that telling a narrative that stays is intriguing and contains on topic unique information Comprehensible 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Elaborative telling a narrative telling a narrative full of details that makes sense and and expanding on ideas is easy to follow Entertaining 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Simple telling a narrative that telling a narrative without frills, is amusing to listen to using little or no elaboration Logical 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Stimulating telling a narrative that telling a narrative that is is sensible and coherent thought provoking Humorous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Honest telling a narrative that telling a narrative that is is funny and amusing sincere and serious Educational 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Objective telling a narrative that telling a narrative that is instructive and enlightening without expressing personal feelings and opinions Emotional 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Imaginative telling a narrative telling a narrative that is while showing a range creative and original of emotions

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85 Part 4: On the following questionnaire, we are interested in finding out how you would rate specific communicative goals in terms of their importance to you when telling a narrative about a memorable event in your life. Close your eyes for a minute and recall a memorable event in your life, such as a memorable vacation you have taken or a memorable party you have attended. Try to picture yourself being back at that event and imagine describing this event to a new person that you have just met. On the following page you will see a list of communicative goal pairs. Please circle a number between 1 and 7 for each communicative goal pair, based on which one of the two communicative goals listed is most important to you when telling a narrative about a memorable event in your life. Here is an example: Complex 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Relevant telling a narrative that telling a narrative that is multifaceted is personally meaningful How do you determine which number to circle? In this example, the numbers 1, 2, and 3 represent valuing telling a Complex narrative more than telling a Relevant narrative, with the number 1 indicating the strongest value on telling Complex narratives. The numbers 5, 6, and 7 represent valuing telling a Relevant narrative more than telling a Complex narrative, with the number 7 indicating the strongest value on telling Relevant narratives. The number 4 should be circled if you value both communicative goals equally. Please begin circling on the next page

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86Circle a number between 1 and 7 for each of the following communicative goal pairs: Clarity 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Interest telling a narrative that telling a narrative that keeps is understandable, the listeners attention and straightforward, and makes the listener want to unambiguous hear more Fascinating 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Focus telling a narrative that telling a narrative that stays is intriguing and contains on topic unique information Comprehensible 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Elaborative telling a narrative telling a narrative full of details that makes sense and and expanding on ideas is easy to follow Entertaining 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Simple telling a narrative that telling a narrative without frills, is amusing to listen to using little or no elaboration Logical 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Stimulating telling a narrative that telling a narrative that is is sensible and coherent thought provoking Humorous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Honest telling a narrative that telling a narrative that is is funny and amusing sincere and serious Educational 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Objective telling a narrative that telling a narrative that is instructive and enlightening without expressing personal feelings and opinions Emotional 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Imaginative telling a narrative telling a narrative that is while showing a range creative and original of emotions

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87 APPENDIX C RATER EVALUATION SHEET Story # Please circle the number that best fits your evaluation of the narrative you just heard on the following dimensions: (a) interest Was the story interesting? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 (not at all) (completely) (b) informativeness Was the story informative? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 (not at all) (completely) (c) clarityWas the story clear and easy to follow?1 2 3 4 5 6 7 (not at all) (completely) (d) focus Did the speaker stay focused on the topic?1 2 3 4 5 6 7 (not at all) (completely) (e) talkativeness Was the speaker talkative? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 (not at all) (completely) (f) story quality Was it a good story? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 (very bad) (very good) (g) elaborative Was the story full of details? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 (not at all) (completely) (h) humorous Was the story funny/amusing? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 (not at all) (completely) (i) imaginative Was the story creative and original?1 2 3 4 5 6 7 (not at all) (completely) (j) logical Was the story sensible and coherent?1 2 3 4 5 6 7 (not at all) (completely) (k) educational Did the story t each you something?1 2 3 4 5 6 7 (not at all) (completely) (l) objective Did the story seem to be based on facts?1 2 3 4 5 6 7 (not at all) (completely)

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88 REFERENCES Arbuckle, T. Y., Nohara-LeClair, M., & Pushkar, D. (2000). Effects of off-target verbosity on communication efficiency in a referential communication task. Psychology and Aging, 15, 65-77. Arbuckle, T. Y., & Pushkar Gold, D. (1993). Aging, inhibition, and verbosity. Journal of Gerontology, 48, 225-232. Boden, D., & Bielby, D. (1983). The past as resour ce: A conversational anal ysis of elderly talk. Human Development, 26, 308-319. Chapman, S. B., Ulatowska, H. K., King, K., Johnson, J. K., & McIntire, D. D. (1995). Discourse in early Alzheimers disease versus normal advanced aging. American Journal of Speech Language Pathology, 4, 124-129. Cooper, P V. (1990). Discourse pro duction and normal aging: Pe rformance on oral picture description tasks. Journal of Geront ology: Psychological Sciences, 45, 210-214. Coupland, N., & Coupland, J. (1995). Discourse, id entity and aging. In J. F. Nussbaum & J. Coupland (Eds.), Handbook of co mmunication and aging resear ch (pp. 79-103). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. Folstein, M. F., Folstein, S. E., & McHugh, P R. (1975). Mini-mental state: A practical method for grading the state of patients for the clin ician. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 12, 189198. Giles, H. & Coupland, N. (1991). Language: Co ntext and consequences. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole. Giles, H., Coupland, N., & Wiemann, J. (1992). Talk is cheap but My word is my bond: Beliefs about talk. In K. Bolt on & H. Kwok (Eds.), Sociolinguistics today: International perspectives (pp. 218-243). London: Routledge. Glosser, G., & Deser, T. (1992). A comparison of changes in macrolinguistic and microlinguistic aspects of discourse production in normal aging. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 47, 266-272. Gold, D., Andres, D., Arbuckle, T., & Schwartz man, A. (1988). Measurement and correlates of verbosity in elderly people Journal of Gerontology: Ps ychological Sciences, 43, 27-33. Gold, D. P ., Arbuckle, T. Y., & Andres, D. (1994). Verbosity in older adults. In Ml. L. Hummert, J. M. Wiemann, & J. F. Nussbaum (Eds.), Interpersonal communication in older adulthood (pp. 107-129). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Gould, O. N., & Dixon, R. A. (1993). How we spen t our vacation: Collaborative storytelling by young and old adults. Psychology and Aging, 8, 10-17.

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89 Hasher, L., & Zacks, R. T. (1988). Working memo ry, comprehension, and ag ing: A review and a new view. In G. H. Bower (Ed.), The psyc hology of learning and mo tivation (Volume 22, pp. 193-225). New York: Academic Press. Hayslip, B. (1981). Verbosity and th e projective test performance in the aged. Journa l of Clinical Psychology, 37, 662-666. Heller, R. B., & Dobbs, A. R. (1993). Age di fferences in word finding in discourse and nondiscourse situations. Ps ychology and Aging, 8, 443-450. Hummert, M. L. (1994). Stereotypes of the elde rly and patronizing speech. In M.L. Hummert, J.M., Weimann, & J.F. Nussbaum (Eds.) Inte rpersonal communication in older adulthood (pp. 162-184). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Hymes, D. (1972). Models of the interaction and so cial life. In J.J. Gumperz & D. Hymes (Eds.), Directions in sociolinguistic: The ethnogr aphy of communication (pp. 35-71). Oxford, England: Basil Blackwell. James, L. E., Burke, D. M., Austin, A., & Hulme, E. (1998). Production and perception of verbosity in younger and older ad ults. Psychology and Aging, 13, 355-367. Juncos-Rabadan, O. (1996). Narrative speech in th e elderly: Effects of age and education on telling stories. Internat ional Journal of Behavior al Development, 19, 669-685. Kemper, S. (1994). Elderspeak: Speech accommodations to older adults. Aging and Cognition, 1, 1-10. Kemper, S., Kynette, D., Rash, S., OBrien, K., & Sprott, R. (1989). Life-span changes to adults language: Effects of memory and genre. Applied Psycholinguistics, 10, 49-66. Kemper, S., Rash, S., Kynette, D., & Norman, S. ( 1990). Telling stories: The structure of adults narratives. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 2, 205-228. Labov, W. (1969). The logic of nonstandard Eng lish. Georgetown Monographs on Language and Linguistics, 22, 1-31. North, A. J., Ulatowska, H. K., Macaluso-Haynes, S., & Bell, H. (1986). Discourse performance in older adults. Internatio nal Journal of Aging and human Development, 23, 267-283. Pratt, M. W., & Robins, S. L. (1991). Thats the way it was: Age differences in the structure and quality of adults narratives. Discourse Processes, 14, 73-85. Pushkar Gold, D., & Arbuckle, T. Y. (1995). A lo ngitudinal study of off-target verbosity. Journal of Gerontology, 50B, 307-315. Ryan, E. B., Giles, H., Bartolucci, G., & He nwood, K. (1986). Discourse performance in older adults. International Journal of Ag ing and Human Development, 23, 267-283.

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90 Ryan, E. B., Kwong See, S., Meneer, W. B., & Trovato, D. (1992). Age-based perceptions of language performance among younger and olde r adults. Communication Research, 19, 423-443. Shewan, C. M., & Henderson, V. L. (1988). Analys is of spontaneous la nguage in the older normal population. Journal of Co mmunication Disorders, 21, 139-154. Stoltzfus, E. R., Hasher, L., & Zacks, R. T. (1996). Working memory and aging: Current status of the inhibitory view. In J. T. E. Richardson, R. W. Engle, L. Hasher, R. Hl Logie, E. R. Stoltzfus, & R. T. Zacks (Eds.), Worki ng memory and human cognition (pp. 66-88). New York: Oxford University Press. Ulatowska, H. K., Cannito, M. P ., Hayashi, M. M., & Fleming, S. G. (1985). Language abilities in the elderly. In H. K. Ulatowska (Ed.), Th e aging brain: Communication and the elderly (pp. 125-139). San Diego, CA : College-Hill Press. Webster, J.D. (1998). Attachment styles, remi niscence functions, and happiness in young and elderly adults. Journal of Aging Studies, 12, 315-330. West, R. L. (1996). An application of prefront al cortex function theo ry to cognitive aging. Psychological Bulletin, 120, 272-292. Zacks, R. T., & Hasher, L. (1994). Directed igno ring: Inhibitory regulat ion of working memory. In D. Dagenback & T. H. Carr (Eds.), Inhi bitory processes in attention, memory, and language (pp. 241-264). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

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91 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Dunja Trunk was born in Denmark and relocated to Pennsylvania with her family when she was 11 years old. She received her BA in psychology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2002. Dunja received her MS in 2004 and her PhD in 2007, both in cognitive psychology, from the University of Florida. After graduation, Dunja will begin her academic career as an assistant professor of psychology at Bloomfield College.