ERIC Number: ED288099
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
Styles of Narrative Processing: A Qualitative Shift from Adolescence to Mature Adulthood.
A study compared the way in which subjects belonging to four different age groups produced written recall and summary responses after being presented with a narrative story. A seventh-grade-level, 500-word story that contained 78 idea units was presented to two groups of adolescents (mean ages, 14.14 years and 17.55 years) and two groups of adults (mean ages, 48.35 years and 67.12 years). Half the subjects in each age group were instructed to read the story in a way that would enable them to answer questions about its content, and the other half were instructed to read it for pleasure, in a relaxed and non-goal oriented manner. Reading times were recorded with a digital stopwatch. In general, the adolescents recalled and summarized the story's explicitly given propositional content, whereas many of the mature adults recalled and summarized the story's implicitly psychological and metaphoric meanings as well. This suggests that there may be an age-related shift in narrative processing from an earlier style in which attention is primarily focused on the surface-level details of a narrative's propositional content to a later-developing style in which the deeper psychological and metaphoric meanings in a narrative also become the focus of attention. The study further suggests that the older adults' more interpretive processing style may represent some sort of adaptive mechanism that is used to compensate for the memory deficits that some older adults may experience. (MN)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association (New York, NY, August 28-September 1, 1987).