<  Back to the Polytechnique Montréal portal

Narrative discourse in young and older adults: behavioral and NIRS analyses

Charles-Olivier Martin, Stéphanie Pontbriand-Drolet, Valérie Daoust, Eric Yamga, Mahnoush Amiri, Lilian C. Hubner and Bernadette Ska

Article (2018)

Published Version
Terms of Use: Creative Commons Attribution.
Download (1MB)
Cite this document: Martin, C.-O., Pontbriand-Drolet, S., Daoust, V., Yamga, E., Amiri, M., Hubner, L. C. & Ska, B. (2018). Narrative discourse in young and older adults: behavioral and NIRS analyses. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 10. doi:10.3389/fnagi.2018.00069
Show abstract Hide abstract


Discourse comprehension is at the core of communication capabilities, making it an important component of elderly populations' quality of life. The aim of this study is to evaluate changes in discourse comprehension and the underlying brain activity. Thirty-six participants read short stories and answered related probes in three conditions: micropropositions, macropropositions and situation models. Using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), the variation in oxyhemoglobin (HbO2) and deoxyhemoglobin (HbR) concentrations was assessed throughout the task. The results revealed that the older adults performed with equivalent accuracy to the young ones at the macroproposition level of discourse comprehension, but were less accurate at the microproposition and situation model levels. Similar to what is described in the compensation-related utilization of neural circuits hypothesis (CRUNCH) model, older participants tended to have greater activation in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex while reading in all conditions. Although it did not enable them to perform similarly to younger participants in all conditions, this over-activation could be interpreted as a compensation mechanism.

Uncontrolled Keywords

Nirs; aging; cerebral plasticity; discourse comprehension; language

Open Access document in PolyPublie
Subjects: 1900 Génie biomédical > 1900 Génie biomédical
8000 Sciences humaines > 8000 Sciences humaines
9000 Sciences de la santé > 9000 Sciences de la santé
Department: Institut de génie biomédical
Research Center: Non applicable
Funders: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
Grant number: 8827
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2020 17:10
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2020 01:20
PolyPublie URL: https://publications.polymtl.ca/3568/
Document issued by the official publisher
Journal Title: Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience (vol. 10)
Publisher: Frontiers
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.3389/fnagi.2018.00069


Total downloads

Downloads per month in the last year

Origin of downloads


Repository Staff Only