5aSC31. An age-based auditory Stroop effect.

Session: Friday Morning, May 17

Author: James V. Ralston
Author: Jarad M. Plesser
Location: Dept. of Psych., Ithaca College, 1119 Williams Hall, Ithaca, NY 14850
Author: Elizabeth A. Lawless
Location: Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY 14850


The present research investigates the effect of semantic content of an utterance on age perception. On each trial of two experiments, listeners heard either a relatively old or young voice uttering a word or nonword. Listeners rapidly decided whether the speaker was relatively young or old. One experiment included five repetitions of the words ``young'' and ``old,'' and a nonword spoken by a college-aged and a middle-aged female. Analyses of reaction times for correct responses revealed a Stroop effect: Responses were quicker when the semantic information and the age of the speaker were consistent than when they were inconsistent. Overall reaction times, but not the Stroop effect, decreased across repetitions. A second experiment utilized the words ``young'' and ``old,'' age-associates, age-neutral words, and nonwords, all recorded from a college-aged and a middle-aged female. Analyses of reaction times revealed a Stroop effect for the semantic associates. In addition, there was a strong trend for response times for nonwords to be greater than those for neutral words. The combined results demonstrate that lexical information influences a listener's perception of age. Results from more recent studies manipulating listener set will also be presented.

from ASA 131st Meeting, Indianapolis, May 1996