Verbosity and emotion recognition in older adults

Ted Ruffman, Janice Murray, Jamin Halberstadt, Mele Taumoepeau
Psychology and Aging 2010, 25 (2): 492-7
Previous research suggests that older adults are more verbose than young adults and that general inhibitory difficulties might play a role in such tendencies. In the present study of 60 young adults and 61 older adults, the authors examined whether verbosity might also be related to difficulty deciphering emotional expressions. Measures of verbosity included total talking time, percentage of time spent on-topic, and extremity of off-topic verbosity. Over all 3 measures, older men and women were significantly more verbose than young men and women. Older men's (but not older women's) verbosity was related to poorer emotion recognition, which fully mediated the age effect. The results are consistent with the idea that older men who talk more do so, in part, because they fail to decipher the emotional cues of a listener.

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