Journal of Psycholinguistic Research

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 59–80 | Cite as

Tracking Reading: Dual Task Costs of Oral Reading for Young Versus Older Adults

  • Susan KemperEmail author
  • Daniel Bontempo
  • RaLynn Schmalzried
  • Whitney McKedy
  • Bruno Tagliaferri
  • Doug Kieweg


A digital pursuit rotor was used to monitor oral reading costs by time-locking tracking performance to the auditory wave form produced as young and older adults were reading out short paragraphs. Multilevel modeling was used to determine how paragraph-level predictors of length, grammatical complexity, and readability and person-level predictors such as speaker age or working memory capacity predicted reading and tracking performance. In addition, sentence-by-sentence variation in tracking performance was examined during the production of individual sentences and during the pauses before upcoming sentences. The results suggest that dual tasking has a greater impact on older adults’ reading comprehension and tracking performance. At the level of individual sentences, young and older adults adopt different strategies to deal with grammatically complex and propositionally dense sentences.


Aging Linguistic processing Dual task demands  Reading 



This research was supported in part by grants from the NIH to the University of Kansas through the Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Center, grant number P30 HD-002528, and the Center for Biobehavioral Neurosciences in Communication Disorders (BNCD), grant number P30 DC-005803 as well as by grant RO1 AG-025906 from the National Institute on Aging to Susan Kemper. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the author and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH. We thank Ruth Herman for her assistance with data collection and analysis. A suite of digital pursuit rotor applications is available upon request.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan Kemper
    • 1
    Email author
  • Daniel Bontempo
    • 2
  • RaLynn Schmalzried
    • 1
  • Whitney McKedy
    • 3
  • Bruno Tagliaferri
    • 2
  • Doug Kieweg
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Gerontology CenterUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA
  2. 2.Center for Biobehavioral Neurosciences in Communication DisordersUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA
  3. 3.Gerontology CenterUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA

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