Topics in Language Science Speaker Series – Michele Diaz (Penn State)
April 14, 2018
10:00 am
100 Thomas

Topics in Language Science Speaker Series – Michele Diaz (Penn State)

Michele  Diaz

The Paradox of Aging and Language

While aging is often associated with moving more slowly, and increased forgetfulness, not all mental aspects show decline. Language is a great example of where we find stability across the lifespan. For example, reading is a skill that is well maintained as we age and can be a great activity for maintaining a stimulating mental life. Moreover, other aspects of language can actually improve as we age. Vocabulary continues to grow as we accumulate experiences. Typically, the older (and more educated) a person is, the larger their vocabulary is. Reading and vocabulary go hand in hand, as reading is a great way to expand your vocabulary. However, while years of reading and acquiring new experiences helps our knowledge base grow, aging can cause retrieving this information to become more difficult. One of the most frustrating and embarrassing experiences with language can be difficulty recalling a person’s name or a specific word. While difficulties recalling words occur at every age, they tend to increase with age. Our research focuses on these word retrieval difficulties. We use Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to better understand the neural bases of these phenomena. In this talk, I will describe some of our recent research that examines how the brain supports speaking and how this changes with age.