Interests and strategies of young and old readers differentially interact with characteristics of texts

Bonnie J.F. Meyer, Andrew Talbot, R. Allen Stubblefield, Leonard W. Poon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Interest may be a particularly valuable motivational resource for older adults in a time of life when a number of cognitive resources show decline. Perplexing findings from Study 1 concerning the differential gain from reading strategy instruction by young and old adults prompted us to consider the possible influence of noncognitive factors. In a follow-up to Study 1, older adults were more dependent on signals in text in order to effectively use the strategy they had learned. In Study 2 we found that signaling had its largest effect on older readers who had low interest in the topic. These data reveal that a strictly cognitive approach to text learning is not sufficient to understand the complexity of prose learning in older adults. Rather, we must consider cognitive factors in conjunction with non-cognitive factors including both text-based variables (e.g., signaling) and affective/motivational variables (e.g., interest). This research was supported by Grant R01 AG09957 from the National Institute of Aging to Bonnie J. F. Meyer, principal investigator, Department of Educational and School Psychology and Special Education, The Pennsylvania State University, and to Leonard W. Poon, co-principal investigator, Gerontology Center, University of Georgia. We particularly appreciate the interest and hard work of all of our participants in this research. In addition, we appreciate the assistance of Cathy Hetrick, Deana Puskar, Jackie Edmondson, and Steve Shaffer who contributed as graduate students in our la boratory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)747-771
Number of pages25
JournalEducational Gerontology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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