The memory problem in normal aging has its roots in reduced efficiency in acquiring new information, and it is primarily this limitation that later translates into memory failures. Our approach to this question is focused on rapid speech comprehension and memory for what has been heard. Our starting point came from the demonstration in our laboratory, and others', of age-sensitive reductions in the capacity of working memory and in speed of perceptual processing and rapid organization of high-speed input that would paradoxically seem to predict far more serious decrements in spoken language processing than one actually sees in healthy aging.
We use "time-compressed" speech on a computer to artificially increase
speech rates beyond normal levels, while still maintaining the natural
flow, timing and pitch contour of the speech. When older adults
(audiologically screened for age-normal hearing) are tested, rates of
decline in recall for unrelated word-lists can be five-times greater
than for a matched group of young adults. We then use computer editing
of the speech to add structural coherence, prosodic contour and
linguistic constraints to the speech to explore how these features are
used by older adults to bring their performance to a level more
closely approaching that of the young. In this way we are able to
examine the delicate interplay between "top-down" contextual support
(at both the acoustic and linguistic levels) as it may be used to
supplement the declining sensory, or "bottom-up"
analysis of the acoustic signal itself. As part
of this research we also explore how age-related central auditory
deficits (e.g., temporal resolution, frequency discrimination)
interact with these cognitive changes.
Our work also includes questions relating to speech production and its
implications for memory retrieval. In one approach to this question,
we explore various types of naming deficits following left hemisphere
focal brain damage; primarily stroke. For this work the Wingfield lab
has an affiliation with the Aphasia Research Center in Boston.
Selected Publications (since 2004)
Stanley, R., Tun, P.A., Brownell, H., & Wingfield, A. Hidden costs of effortful listening on speech comprehension. In F. Columbus (Ed.). Speech processing. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers. In press.
Benichov, J., Cox, L.C., Tun, P.A., & Wingfield, A. Word recognition within a linguistic context: Effects of age, hearing acuity, verbal ability and cognitive function. Ear and Hearing. In press.
Peelle, J.E., Troiani, V., Grossman, M., & Wingfield, A. (2011). Hearing Loss in Older Adults Affects Neural Systems Supporting Speech Comprehension. Journal of Neuroscience, 31, 12638-12643.
Piquado, T., Cousins, A.Q., Wingfield, A., & Miller, P. (2010). Effects of degraded sensory input on memory for speech: Behavioral data and a test of biologically constrained computational models. Brain Research, doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2010.09.070.
Tun, P.A., Benichov, J., & Wingfield, A. Response latencies in auditory sentence comprehension: Effects of linguistic versus perceptual challenge. Psychology and Aging. 2010 Sep;25(3):730-5.
Miller, P. & Wingfield, A. (2010) Distinct effects of perceptual quality on auditory word recognition, memory formation and recall in a neural model of sequential memory. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience. 4:14. doi:10.3389/fnsys. 2010.00014
Piquado, T., Isaacopwitz, D., & Wingfield, A. (2010). Pupillometry as a measure of cognitive effort in younger and older adults. Psychophysiology, 47, 560-569.
Peelle, J., E., Troiani, V., Wingfield, A., & Grossman, M. (2010). Neural processing during older adults’ comprehension of spoken sentences: Age differences in resource allocation and connectivity. Cerebral Cortex, 20, 773-782.
Brownell, H., Hoyte, K., Piquado, T., & Wingfield, A. Analytic methods for single subject and small sample aphasia research: Some illustrations and practical discussion. In M. Faust (Ed.), Handbook of the Neuropsychology of Language. Vol. 2: Language processing in the brain: Special populations. Blackwell-Wiley.
Tun, P.A., McCoy, S., & Wingfield, A. (2009). Aging, hearing acuity, and the attentional costs of effortful listening. Psychology and Aging, 24, 761-766.
Stewart, R., & Wingfield, A. (2009). Hearing loss and cognitive effort in older adults’ report accuracy for verbal materials. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, 20, 147-154.
Hoyte, K.J., Brownell, H., & Wingfield, A. (2009). Components of speech prosody and their use in detection of syntactic structure by older adults. Experimental Aging Research, 35, 129-151.
Cox, L.C., McCoy, S.L., Tun, P.A., & Wingfield, A. (2008). Monotic auditory processing
disorder tests in the older adult population. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, 19, 293-308.
Golomb, J., Peelle, J.E., Addis, K.M., Kahana, M.J., & Wingfield, A. (2008). Effects of adult aging on utilization of temporal and semantic associations during free and serial recall. Memory & Cognition, 36, 947-956.
Stewart, R., Yetton, E., & Wingfield, A. (2008). Perception of alternated speech operates similarly in young and older adults with age-normal hearing. Perception & Psychophysics. 70, 337-345.
Wingfield, A., Panizzon, M., Grant, M.D., Toomey, R., Kremen, W., Franz, C.E., Jacobson, K.C., Eisen,S.A., & Lyons, M. (2007). A twin-study of genetic contributions to hearing acuity in late middle-age. Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, 62A, 1294-1299.
Reilly, J., Troiani, V., Grossman, M., & Wingfield, A. (2007). An introduction to hearing loss and screening procedures for behavioral research. Behavior Research Methods, 39, 667-672.
Golomb, J.D., Peelle, J.E., & Wingfield, A. (2007). Effects of stimulus variability and adult aging on adaptation to time-compressed speech. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 121, 1701-1708.
Wingfield, A., & Tun, P.A. (2007). Cognitive supports and cognitive constraints on comprehension of spoken language. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, 18, 567-577.
Miller, L.M.S., Cohen, J.A., & Wingfield, A. (2006). Knowledge reduces demands on working memory during reading. Memory and Cognition, 34, 1355-1367.
Howard, M.W., Kahana, M.J., & Wingfield, A. (2006). Aging and contextual binding: Modeling recency and lag-recency with the temporal context model. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 13, 439-445.
Wingfield, A., & Grossman, M. (2006). Language and the aging brain: Patterns of neural compensation revealed by functional brain imaging. Journal of Neurophysiology, 96, 2830-2839.
Wingfield, A., Tun, P.A., McCoy, S.L.., Stewart, R.A., & Cox, L.C. (2006). Sensory and cognitive constraints in comprehension of spoken language in adult aging. Seminars in Hearing, 27, 273-283.
Sekuler, R., McLaughlin, C., Kahana, M.J., Wingfield, A., & Yotsumoto, Y. (2006). Short-term visual recognition and temporal order memory are both well-preserved in aging. Psychology and Aging, 21, 632-637.
Zaromb, F.M., Howard, M.W., Dolan, E.D., Sirotin, Y.B., Tully, M., Wingfield, A., & Kahana, M.J. (2006). Temporal associations and prior-list intrusions in free recall. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory & Cognition, 32, 792-804.
Wingfield, A., McCoy, S.L., Peelle, J.E., Tun, P.A., & Cox, L.C. (2006). Effects of adult aging and hearing loss on comprehension of rapid speech varying in syntactic complexity. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology,
Titone, D.A., Koh, C.K., Kjelgaard, M.M., Bruce, S., Speer, S,R., & Wingfield, A.(2006). Age-related impairments in the revision of syntactic misanalyses: Effects of prosody. Language and Speech, 49, 75-99.
Little, D.M., McGrath, L.M., Prentice, K.J., & Wingfield, A. (2006). Semantic
encoding of spoken sentences: Adult aging and the preservation of conceptual short-term memory. Applied Psycholinguistics, 27, 487-511.
Wingfield, A., Brownell, H., & Hoyte, K. (2006). Variable solutions to the same problem: Aberrant practice effects in object naming by three aphasic patients. Brain and Language, 97. 351-356.
Little, D.M., Prentice, K.J., Darrow, A.W., & Wingfield, A. (2005). Listening to
spoken text: Adult age differences as revealed by self-paced listening. Experimental Aging Research, 31, 313-330.
Fallon, M., Peelle, J.E. & Wingfield, A. (2006). Spoken sentence processing in young and older adults modulated by task demands: Evidence from self-paced listening. Journal of Genrontology: Psychological Sciences, 61B, P310-P17.
Peelle, J.E., & Wingfield, A. (2005). Dissociations in perceptual learning revealed by
adult age differences in adaptation to time-compressed speech. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 31, 1315-1330.
Wingfield, A., Tun, P.A., & McCoy, S.L. (2005). Hearing loss in older adulthood: What it is and how it interacts with cognitive performance. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14, 144-148.
McCoy, S.L., Tun, P.A., Cox, L.C., & Wingfield, A. (2005). Aging in a fast-paced world: Rapid speech and its effect on understanding. The ASHA Leader, July 12, pp. 30-31.
Sekuler, R., Kahana, M.J., McLaughlin, C., Golomb, J., & Wingfield, A. (2005). Preservation of episodic visual recognition memory in aging. Experimental Aging Research, 31, 1-13.
Kahana, M.J., Dolan, E.D., Sauder, C,L., & Wingfield, A. (2005). Intrusions in episodic recall: Age differences in editing of overt responses. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 60B, P92-P97.
McCoy, S.L., Tun, P.A., Cox, L.C., Colangelo, M., Stewart, R.A., & Wingfield, A. (2005). Hearing loss and perceptual effort: Downstream effects on older adults’ memory for speech. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 58A, 22-33.
Wingfield, A., Tun, P.A., O’Kane, G., & Peelle, J.E. (2005). Language comprehension in complex environments: Distraction by competing speech in young and older adult listeners. In S.P. Shohov (Ed.), Advances in Psychology Research,Vol. 33 (pp 3-38). Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers.
Peelle, J.E., McMillan, C., Moore, P., Grossman, M., & Wingfield, A. (2004). Dissociable patterns of brain activity during comprehension of rapid and syntactically complex speech: Evidence from fMRI. Brain and Language, 91, 315-325.
Fallon, M., Kuchinsky, S., & Wingfield, A. (2004). The salience of linguistic clauses in young and older adults’ running memory for speech. Experimental Aging Research, 30, 359-371.
Little, D.M., Prentice, K.J., & Wingfield, A. (2004). Adult age differences in judgments of semantic fit. Applied Psycholinguistics, 25, 135-143.
Naeser, M.A., Martin, P.I., Baker, E.H., Hodge, S.M, Sczerzenie, S.E., Nicholas, M., Palumbo, C.L., Goodglass, H., Wingfield, A., Samaraweera, R., Harris, G., Baird, A., Renshaw, P., Yurgelun-Todd, D. (2004). Overt propositional speech in chronic nonfluent aphasia studied with the dynamic susceptibility contrast fMRI method.NeuroImage, 22, 29-41.
Lahar, C., Tun, P. A., Wingfield, A. (2004). Sentence-Final Word Completion Norms for Young Middle-Aged, and Older Adults. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 59B, P7-P10.
Last reviewed: July 12, 2012.