Aging and Language

My research focuses on the link between executive functions and language processing in old age. The process of aging is associated with reduced performance on tasks that rely on executive functions. These executive functions have already been shown to influence language processing and comprehension in younger adults. However, it is less clear how age-related changes in executive functioning affect people’s language processing abilities. Is there a one-to-one relationship between executive functions and language processing? If so, language processing abilities of elderly adults should decline at the same rate as executive functions. This does not seem to be the case and therefore the relation between executive functions and language is probably more complex. Still, the question remains what the nature is of this relationship and which sub types of executive functioning are especially important in language processing. By studying language processing in younger adults and elderly adults, I aim to get insight in how executive functions modulate the way in which people process and comprehend language across the life span. Actually, I use language as a tool to study age-related changes in executive functions.