Language in the Aging Brain Project
Since 1976, researchers from the Language in the Aging Brain project have been investigating the extent to which various language abilities change with healthy aging. In our current research, we seek to explain changes in lexical retrieval and auditory comprehension – language domains we know to change in healthy older adults. Our principal research question is: To what extent do health and cognition account for age-related changes in language?
Our hypothesis is that vascular disease risk factors (e.g., hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and cardiac disease) have negative effects on cognition, especially on executive function and working memory, and that decline in executive function has negative effects on specific aspects of language in aging (namely, lexical retrieval and auditory comprehension). Our approach is multidisciplinary; we integrate linguistics, cognitive neuroscience, behavioral neurology, neuroimaging, geriatrics, and statistics.