Age-related differences in sentence processing of who-questions: An eye-tracking study

Ji Hye Jang, Jee Eun Sung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to compare the performance and eye tracking data of the young and the old in sentence processing tasks using the 'who+nominative' and 'who+accusative'. Methods: Participants in this study were 21 normal young adults and 17 normal elderly adults. All subjects passed the screening test for cognition and language, and there was no difference in education between the groups. Pictures and stories were presented at the same time, then subjects were asked to choose the corresponding answer on the screen. Results: First, the accuracy of the elderly group was significantly lower than that of young group. The elderly group performed much lower in the type 'who +accusative'. Second, there was no significant difference between the groups in fixation duration for the target stimulus, but all groups had lower fixation duration in the type of 'who+accusative'. Also, the heat map shows that fixation of the elderly was more dispersed than the young group. Finally, the fixation proportion of the target stimulus according to the time interval showed that the fixation proportion of the elderly decreased in the last section of the sentence. Conclusion: The elderly group showed lower accuracy and stronger gaze dispersion in 'who+accusative' type than the young group. Furthermore, the lower rate of fixation proportion for the elderly in the last section of the sentence is due to the lower efficiency of the sentence integration process compared to the young.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)382-398
Number of pages17
JournalCommunication Sciences and Disorders
Issue number25
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Korean Academy of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.


  • Aging
  • Case marker
  • Eye-tracking study
  • Sentence processing
  • Who-questions


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