Among all aspects of the linguistic and communicative competence, pragmatics seems especially vulnerable in aging, due also to cognitive decline. However, pragmatics has never been considered as an intervention target in healthy aging. Here we tested the effects of a novel training program to improve pragmatics (PragmaCom) in older adults, compared with an active cognitive control group in a randomized-controlled-trial design. Both the PragmaCom group and the control group improved in pragmatic skills such as understanding metaphors and avoiding off-topic speech, indicating that it is possible to improve pragmatics in aging both with a specific training and with a cognitive training. Individual cognitive factors predicted pragmatic improvement in the control group, while in the PragmaCom group benefits were less dependent on individual characteristics. We discuss the results in terms of pragmatic plasticity, highlighting the importance of these findings for promoting older adults’ social communication and well-being.

How to improve social communication in aging: Pragmatic and cognitive interventions

Bambini V.;Ceccato I.;Lecce S.;Marocchini E.;Cavallini E.
2020-01-01

Abstract

Among all aspects of the linguistic and communicative competence, pragmatics seems especially vulnerable in aging, due also to cognitive decline. However, pragmatics has never been considered as an intervention target in healthy aging. Here we tested the effects of a novel training program to improve pragmatics (PragmaCom) in older adults, compared with an active cognitive control group in a randomized-controlled-trial design. Both the PragmaCom group and the control group improved in pragmatic skills such as understanding metaphors and avoiding off-topic speech, indicating that it is possible to improve pragmatics in aging both with a specific training and with a cognitive training. Individual cognitive factors predicted pragmatic improvement in the control group, while in the PragmaCom group benefits were less dependent on individual characteristics. We discuss the results in terms of pragmatic plasticity, highlighting the importance of these findings for promoting older adults’ social communication and well-being.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11571/1364416
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