The memory problem in normal aging has its roots in reduced efficiency in acquiring new information, and it is largely 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. A major factor we examine is the effect of reduced hearing acuity, as hearing loss, whether mild, moderate, or more severe, often accompanies normal aging. In addition to these sensory changes are age-sensitive reductions in the capacity of working memory and speed of perceptual processing that would paradoxically seem to predict far more serious decrements in spoken language comprehension than one actually sees in healthy aging. At the same time, the perceptual effort due to even a mild hearing loss may bring a cost to successful speech perception in the form of a draw on attentional resources that would otherwise be available for understanding speech with complex syntax, or encoding the speech in memory.
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 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. Dr. Wingfield and his collaborators also use functional brain imaging as an added tool in this exploration.
Dr. Wingfield received his doctorate in Experimental Psychology from Oxford University after receiving a Master’s degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Northwestern University. His research on spoken language comprehension and memory in adult aging has been recognized by two successive MERIT Awards from the National Institute on Aging, as well as an Editor’s Award from the Journal of Speech and Hearing Research for his early work on time-compressed speech. He is recipient of the 2010 Baltes Distinguished Research Achievement Award from Division 20 of the American Psychological Association and the Margaret M. and Paul B. Baltes Foundation in Berlin. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Cambridge, England, the University of Copenhagen, and UCLA.
Selected Publications (since 2004)
Payne, L., C. S. Rogers, A. Wingfield and R. Sekuler (2017). "A right-ear bias of auditory selective attention is evident in alpha oscillations." Psychophysiology 54(4): 528-535.
Ayasse, N. D., A. Lash and A. Wingfield (2016). "Effort Not Speed Characterizes Comprehension of Spoken Sentences by Older Adults with Mild Hearing Impairment." Front Aging Neurosci 8: 329.
Hadar, B., J. E. Skrzypek, A. Wingfield and B. M. Ben-David (2016). "Working Memory Load Affects Processing Time in Spoken Word Recognition: Evidence from Eye-Movements." Front Neurosci 10: 221.
Pichora-Fuller, M. K., S. E. Kramer, M. A. Eckert, B. Edwards, B. W. Hornsby, L. E. Humes, U. Lemke, T. Lunner, M. Matthen, C. L. Mackersie, G. Naylor, N. A. Phillips, M. Richter, M. Rudner, M. S. Sommers, K. L. Tremblay and A. Wingfield (2016). "Hearing Impairment and Cognitive Energy: The Framework for Understanding Effortful Listening (FUEL)." Ear Hear 37 Suppl 1: 5S-27S.
Wingfield, A. (2016). "Evolution of Models of Working Memory and Cognitive Resources." Ear Hear 37 Suppl 1: 35S-43S.
Peelle JE, Wingfield A. "The Neural Consequences of Age-Related Hearing Loss." Trends Neurosci. 2016 Jun 1. pii: S0166-2236(16)30036-4.
Lee YS, Min NE, Wingfield A, Grossman M and Peelle JE (2016). "Acoustic richness modulates the neural networks supporting intelligible speech processing." Hear Res. 2016 Mar;333:108-17.
Amichetti NM, White AG and Wingfield A (2016). "Multiple Solutions to the Same Problem: Utilization of Plausibility and Syntax in Sentence Comprehension by Older Adults with Impaired Hearing." Frontiers in Psychology 7.
DeCaro R, Peelle JE, Grossman M and Wingfield A (2016). "The Two Sides of Sensory-Cognitive Interactions: Effects of Age, Hearing Acuity, and Working Memory Span on Sentence Comprehension." Front Psychol. 2016 Feb 29;7:236.
Albers MW, Gilmore GC, Kaye J, Murphy C, Wingfield A, Bennett DA, Boxer AL, Buchman AS, Cruickshanks KJ, Devanand DP, Duffy CJ, Gall CM, Gates GA, Granholm AC, Hensch T, Holtzer R, Hyman BT, Lin FR, McKee AC, Morris JC, Petersen RC, Silbert LC, Struble RG, Trojanowski JQ, Verghese J, Wilson DA, Xu S and Zhang LI (2015). "At the interface of sensory and motor dysfunctions and Alzheimer's disease." Alzheimers Dement. 2015 Jan;11(1):70-98.
Rogers CS and Wingfield A (2015). "Stimulus-independent semantic bias misdirects word recognition in older adults." J Acoust Soc Am. 2015 Jul;138(1):EL26-30.
Wingfield A, Amichetti NM and Lash A (2015). "Cognitive aging and hearing acuity: modeling spoken language comprehension." Front Psychol. 2015 Jun 11;6:684.
Wingfield A. and Peelle JE (2015). "The effects of hearing loss on neural processing and plasticity." Front Syst Neurosci. 2015 Mar 6;9:35.
Cousins KA, Dar H, Wingfield A and Miller P (2014). "Acoustic masking disrupts time-dependent mechanisms of memory encoding in word-list recall." Mem Cognit. 2014 May;42(4):622-38.
Lash A and Wingfield A (2014). "A Bruner-Potter effect in audition? Spoken word recognition in adult aging." Psychol Aging. 2014 Dec;29(4):907-12.
Amichetti NM, Stanley RS, White AG, Wingfield A. (2013). "Monitoring the capacity of working memory: Executive control and effects of listening effort." Mem Cognit. 2013 Aug;41(6):839-49. .
Lash A, Rogers CS, Zoller A, Wingfield A. (2013). "Expectation and entropy in spoken word recognition: effects of age and hearing acuity."Experimental Aging Research 2013;39(3):235-53.
Brownell, H., Hoyte, K., Piquado, T., & Wingfield, A. (2012). "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 (pp. 595- 618). Blackwell-Wiley.
Benichov J, Cox LC, Tun PA, Wingfield A. (2012). "Word recognition within a linguistic context: effects of age, hearing acuity, verbal ability, and cognitive function. " Ear and Hearing. 33, 250-6.
Wingfield A and Peelle JE (2012). "How does hearing loss affect the brain?" Aging Health, 2012 Apr;8(2):107-109.
Stanley R, Tun PA, Brownell H and Wingfield A (2012). "Hidden costs of effortful listening on speech comprehension." In T.P. Long & L.R. Eifert (Eds.), Speech processing and auditory processing disorders: Causes, diagnosis and treatment. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers.
Humes LE, Dubno JR, Gordon-Salant S, Lister JJ, Cacace AT, Cruickshanks KJ, Gates GA, Wilson RH and Wingfield A (2012). "Central presbycusis: A review and evaluation of the evidence." Journal of the American Academy of Audiology. 2012 Sep;23(8):635-66.
Piquado T, Benichov JI, Brownell H and Wingfied, A (2012). "The hidden effect of hearing acuity on speech recall, and compensatory effects of self-paced listening." International Journal of Audiology, 51, 576-583.
Peelle JE, Troiani V, Grossman M and Wingfield A (2011). "Hearing Loss in Older Adults Affects Neural Systems Supporting Speech Comprehension." Journal of Neuroscience, 31, 12638-12643.
Piquado T, Cousins AQ, Wingfield A and Miller P (2010). "Effects of degraded sensory input on memory for speech: Behavioral data and a test of biologically constrained computational models." Brain Research, 2010 Dec 13;1365:48-65
Tun PA, Benichov J and Wingfield A (2010). "Response latencies in auditory sentence comprehension: Effects of linguistic versus perceptual challenge." Psychology and Aging. 2010 Sep;25(3):730-5.
Miller P and 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.
Piquado T, Isaacopwitz D and Wingfield A (2010). "Pupillometry as a measure of cognitive effort in younger and older adults." Psychophysiology, 47, 560-569.
Peelle JE, Troiani V, Wingfield A and 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 and 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 PA, McCoy S and Wingfield A (2009). "Aging, hearing acuity, and the attentional costs of effortful listening." Psychology and Aging, 24, 761-766.
Stewart R and Wingfield A (2009). "Hearing loss and cognitive effort in older adults’ report accuracy for verbal materials." Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, 2009 Feb;20(2):147-54.
Hoyte KJ, Brownell H and 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 LC, McCoy SL, Tun PA and 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 JE, Addis KM, Kahana MJ and 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 and 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 MD, Toomey R, Kremen W, Franz CE, Jacobson KC, Eisen SA and 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 and Wingfield A (2007). "An introduction to hearing loss and screening procedures for behavioral research." Behavior Research Methods, 39, 667-672.
Golomb JD, Peelle JE and 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 and Tun PA (2007). "Cognitive supports and cognitive constraints on comprehension of spoken language." Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, 18, 567-577.
Miller LMS, Cohen JA and Wingfield A (2006). "Knowledge reduces demands on working memory during reading." Memory and Cognition, 34, 1355-1367.
Howard MW, Kahana MJ and 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 and 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 PA, McCoy SL, Stewart RA and Cox LC (2006). "Sensory and cognitive constraints in comprehension of spoken language in adult aging." Seminars in Hearing, 27, 273-283.
Sekuler R, McLaughlin C, Kahana MJ, Wingfield A and Yotsumoto Y. (2006). "Short-term visual recognition and temporal order memory are both well-preserved in aging." Psychology and Aging, 21, 632-637.
Zaromb FM, Howard MW, Dolan ED, Sirotin YB, Tully M, Wingfield A and Kahana MJ (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, 2006 Jul-Aug;17(7):487-97.
Titone DA, Koh CK, Kjelgaard MM, Bruce S, Speer SR and Wingfield A (2006). "Age-related impairments in the revision of syntactic misanalyses: Effects of prosody." Language and Speech. 2006;49(Pt 1):75-99.
Little DM, McGrath LM, Prentice KJ and 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 and Hoyte K (2006). "Variable solutions to the same problem: Aberrant practice effects in object naming by three aphasic patients." Brain and Language, 2006 Jun;97(3):351-6.
Fallon M, Peelle JE and 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, 2006 Jan;61(1):P10-7.
Little DM, Prentice KJ, Darrow AW and Wingfield A. (2005). "Listening to
spoken text: Adult age differences as revealed by self-paced listening." Experimental Aging Research, 2005 Jul-Sep;31(3):313-30.
Peelle JE and 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, 2005 Dec;31(6):1315-30.
Wingfield A, Tun PA and McCoy SL (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 SL, Tun PA, Cox LC and 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 MJ, McLaughlin C, Golomb J and Wingfield A (2005). "Preservation of episodic visual recognition memory in aging." Experimental Aging Research, 2005 Jan-Mar;31(1):1-13.
Kahana MJ, Dolan ED, Sauder CL, and Wingfield A (2005). "Intrusions in episodic recall: Age differences in editing of overt responses." Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 60B, P92-P97.
McCoy SL, Tun PA, Cox LC, Colangelo M, Stewart RA, and Wingfield A (2005). "Hearing loss and perceptual effort: Downstream effects on older adults’ memory for speech." Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 2005 Jan;58(1):22-33.
Wingfield A, Tun PA, O’Kane G, and Peelle JE (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 JE, McMillan C, Moore P, Grossman M, and Wingfield A (2004). "Dissociable patterns of brain activity during comprehension of rapid and syntactically complex speech: Evidence from fMRI." Brain and Language, 2004 Dec;91(3):315-25.
Fallon M, Kuchinsky S, & Wingfield A (2004). "The salience of linguistic clauses in young and older adults’ running memory for speech." Exp Aging Res. 2004 Oct-Dec;30(4):359-71.
Little DM, Prentice KJ, & Wingfield A (2004). "Adult age differences in judgments of semantic fit." Applied Psycholinguistics, 25, 135-143.
Naeser MA, Martin PI, Baker EH, Hodge SM, Sczerzenie SE, Nicholas M, Palumbo CL, 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. 2004 May;22(1):29-41.
Lahar C, Tun PA, Wingfield A (2004). "Sentence-Final Word Completion Norms for Young Middle-Aged, and Older Adults." J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2004 Jan;59(1):P7-10.
Last reviewed: April 4, 2017