ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2013, Vol. 21 ›› Issue (3): 487-494.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2013.00487

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The Aging Mechanism on Off-topic Verbosity

YIN Shufei;PENG Huamao   

  1. (1 Institute of Developmental Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China) (2 Center on Aging Psychology, Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China) (3 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, China)
  • Received:2012-06-12 Online:2013-03-15 Published:2013-03-15
  • Contact: PENG Huamao

Abstract: In everyday life, the speech of older people is more off-topic and verbose compared with young adults. The phenomenon is referred as the aging of off-topic verbosity (OTV). Pragmatic change hypothesis suggests that the change of communicative goals among the elders results in the increase of OTV. This hypothesis could explain the OTV induced by autobiographical topics, but not interpret that induced by non-autobiographical topics which does not involve change of communicative goals. Inhibition deficit theory proposes that OTV is closely related to the age-related decline in inhibiting irrelevant information, providing explanations for OTV on both autobiographical and non-autobiographical topics. However, this theory does not clearly clarify the ageing mechanism on OTV. Future research need focus on the underlying aging mechanism of OTV, so as to provide more effective intervention to resolve the social communication dilemma in older adults.

Key words: off-topic verbosity, pragmatic change hypothesis, inhibitory deficit hypothesis