The role of aging in the subject-verb number agreement production process

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2019-07-03
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en
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Abstract
In order to investigate the effect of aging on the syntactic production process of subject-verb number agreement in Dutch, we compared the production of agreement errors between elderly people and young adults in a spoken sentence completion task. As in previous studies, effects of attraction (more agreement errors in sentences with a singular subject head noun and a plural local noun) and distributivity (more agreement errors when the conceptual number of the subject head noun mismatched the grammatical number) were found. No difference was found in the total amount of produced agreement errors. Aging, however, made the attraction effect stronger and the distributivity effect weaker. We presume therefore that the aging process changes the underlying mechanism of subject-verb number agreement. We suggest that the found limited working memory capacity of elderly people could be involved in this change. < /p>
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