Journal of Interactional Research in Communication Disorders, Vol 5, No 2 (2014)

Verbal play as a discourse resource in the social interactions of older and younger communication pairs

Samantha Shune, Melissa C. Duff
Issued Date: 31 Jul 2014

Abstract


Verbal play, or the playful manipulation of elements of language, is a pervasive component of social interaction, serving important interpersonal functions. We analyzed verbal play in the interactional discourse of ten healthy younger pairs and ten healthy older pairs as they completed a collaborative referencing task. A total of 1,893 verbal play episodes were coded. While there were no group differences in verbal play frequency, age-related differences in the quality and function of these episodes emerged. While older participants engaged in more complex, extended, and reciprocal episodes that supported the social nature of communicative interactions (e.g., teasing), younger participants were more likely to engage in verbal play episodes for the purpose of successful task completion. Despite these age-related variations in the deployment of verbal play, verbal play is a robust interactional discourse resource in healthy aging, highlighting an element of human cognition that does not appear to decline with age.

Download Media

PDF (Price: £17.50 )

DOI: 10.1558/jircd.v5i2.193

References


Adams, E. R. and McGuire, F. A. (1986) Is laughter the best medicine? A study of the effects of humor on perceived pain and affect. Activities, Adaptation, and Aging 8 (3–4): 157–175.
Albert, M. L., Spiro, A., Sayers, K. J., Cohen, J. A., Brady, C. B., Goral, M. and Obler, L. K. (2009) Effects of health status on word finding in aging. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 57 (12): 2300–2305. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1532-5415.2009.02559.x
Bassuk, S., Glass, T. and Berkman, L. (1999) Social disengagement and incident cognitive decline in community-dwelling elderly persons. Annals of Internal Medicine 131 (3): 165–173. http://dx.doi.org/10.7326/0003-4819-131-3-199908030-00002
Birren, J. E. and Schaie, K. W. (eds). (2006) Handbook of the Psychology of Aging (6th edn, pp. 261–287). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Blanchard-Fields, F., Mienaltowski, A. and Seay, R. B. (2007) Age differences in everyday problem-solving effectiveness: Older adults select more effective strategies for interpersonal problems. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences 62 (1): P61–P64. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/geronb/62.1.P61
Boden, D. and Bielby, D. (1983) The past as resource: A conversational analysis of elderly talk. Human Development 26 (6): 308–319. http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000272892
Boden, D. and Bielby, D. (1986) The way it was: Topical organization in elderly conversation. Language and Communication 6 (1–2): 73–89. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0271-5309(86)90007-8
Bowles, N. L. and Poon, L. W. (1985) Aging and retrieval of words in semantic memory. Journal of Gerontology 40 (1): 71–77. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/geronj/40.1.71
Braak, H. and Braak, E. (1990) Neurofibrillary changes confined to the entorhinal region and an abundance of cortical amyloid in cases of presenile and senile dementia. Acta Neuropathologica 80 (5): 239–259. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF00294607
Burke, D. M. and MacKay, D. G. (1997) Memory, language, and ageing. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences 352 (1363): 1845–1856. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.1997.0170
Carstensen, L. L. (1986) Social support among the elderly: Limitations of behavioral interventions. The Behavior Therapist 6: 111–113.
Carstensen, L. L. (1992) Social and emotional patterns in adulthood: Support for socioemotional selectivity theory. Psychology and Aging 7 (3): 331–338. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0882-7974.7.3.331
Carstensen, L. L. (1995) Evidence for a life-span theory of socioemotional selectivity. Current Directions in Psychological Science 4 (5): 151–156. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8721.ep11512261
Carstensen, L. L., Fung, H. H. and Charles, S. T. (2003) Socioemotional selectivity theory and the regulation of emotion in the second half of life. Motivation and Emotion 27 (2): 103–123. http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/A:1024569803230
Carstensen, L. L., Pasupathi, M., Mayr, U. and Nesselroade, J. (2000) Emotion experience in the daily lives of older and younger adults. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 79: 1–12.
Charles, S. T., Reynolds, C. A. and Gatz, M. (2001) Age-related differences and change in positive and negative affect over 23 years. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 80 (1): 136–151. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.80.1.136
Christensen, H., Korten, A., Jorm, A., Henderson, A., Scott, R. and Mackinnon, A. (1996) Activity levels and cognitive functioning in an elderly community sample. Age Ageing 25 (1): 72–80. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ageing/25.1.72
Cogan, R., Cogan, D., Waltz, W. and McCue, M. (1987). Effects of laughter and relaxation on discomfort thresholds. Journal of Behavioral Medicine 10 (2): 139–144. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF00846422
Crystal, D. (1998) Language Play. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Cumming, E. and Henry, W. H. (1961) Growing Old: The Process of Disengagement. New York: Basic Books.
Derksen, B. J., Duff, M. C., Weldon, K., Zhang, J., Zamba, G., Tranel, D. and Denburg, N. L. (2014) Older adults catch up to younger adults on a learning and memory task that involves collaborative social interaction. Memory 19: 1-13. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09658211.2014.915974
Diener, E. and Lucas, R. E. (1999) Personality and subjective well-being. In D. Kahneman, E. Diener and N. Schwarz (eds), Well-being: The Foundations of Hedonic Psychology, 213–229. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
Diener, E. and Suh, E. (1997) Measuring quality of life: Economic, social, and subjective indicators. Social Indicators Research 40 (1–2): 189–216. http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/A:1006859511756
Duff, M. C., Gallegos, D., Cohen, N. J. and Tranel, D. (2013) Learning in Alzheimer’s disease is facilitated by social interaction. Journal of Comparative Neurology 521 (18): 4356–4369. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cne.23433
Duff, M. C., Hengst, J., Tranel, D. and Cohen, N. J. (2006) Development of shared information in communication despite hippocampal amnesia. Nature Neuroscience 9 (1): 140–146. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nn1601
Duff, M. C., Hengst, J., Tranel, D. and Cohen, N. J. (2008) Collaborative discourse facilitates efficient communication and new semantic learning in amnesia. Brain and Language 106 (1): 41–54. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bandl.2007.10.004
Duff, M. C., Hengst, J., Tranel, D. and Cohen, N. J. (2009) Hippocampal amnesia disrupts verbal play and the creative use of language in social interaction. Aphasiology 23 (7): 926–939. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02687030802533748
Eichenbaum, H. and Cohen, N. H. (2001). From Conditioning to Conscious Recollection: Memory Systems of the Brain. New York: Oxford University Press.
Filer, L. and Scukanec, G. (1995) Collaborative referencing in elderly women. Perceptual and Motor Skills 81: 995–1000. http://dx.doi.org/10.2466/pms.1995.81.3.995
Giles, H. and Coupland, N. (1991) Language: Contexts and Consequences. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.
Gold, D. P., Arbuckle, T. Y. and Andres, D. (1994). Verbosity in older adults. In M. L. Hummert, J. M. Wiemann and J. F. Nussbaum (eds), Interpersonal Communication in Older Adulthood: Interdisciplinary Theory and Research, 107–129. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Gould, O. N. and Dixon, R. A. (1993) How we spent our vacation: Collaborative storytelling by young and old adults. Psychology and Aging 8 (1): 10–17. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0882-7974.8.1.10
Grossmann, I., Na, J., Varnum, M. E., Park, D. C., Kitayama, S. and Nisbett, R. E. (2010) Reasoning about social conflicts improves into old age. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107 (16): 7246–7250. http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1001715107
Hayashi, T., Urayama, O., Hori, M., Sakamoto, S., Nasir, U. M. and Murakami, K. (2007) Laughter modulates protein receptor gene expression in patients with type 2 dia­betes. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 62 (6): 703–706. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychores.2007.01.010
Heilman, K. M., Safran, A. and Geschwind, N. (1971) Closed head trauma and aphasia. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry 34 (3): 265–269. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jnnp.34.3.265
Heller, R. B. and Dobbs, A. R. (1993) Age differences in word finding in discourse and nondiscourse situations. Psychology and Aging 8 (3): 443–450. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0882-7974.8.3.443
Hengst, J. (2006) That mea:n dog: Linguistic mischief and verbal play as a communicative resource in aphasia. Aphasiology 20 (2–4): 312–326. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02687030500475010
Hertzog, C., Kramer, A. F., Wilson, R. S. and Lindenberger, U. (2008) Enrichment effects on adult cognitive development: Can the functional capacity of older adults be preserved and enhanced? Psychological Science in the Public Interest 9 (1): 1–65.
Holland, A. (1982) When is aphasia aphasia? The problem of closed head injury. In R. W. Brookshire (ed.), Clinical Aphasiology Conference Proceedings, 345–349. Minneapolis, MN: BRK Publishers.
Hupet, M., Chantraine, Y. and Nef, F. (1993) References in conversation between young and old normal adults. Psychology and Aging 8 (3): 339–346. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0882-7974.8.3.339
Hummert, M. L., Wiemann, J. M. and Nussbaum, J. F. (eds) (1994) Interpersonal Communication in Older Adulthood: Interdisciplinary Theory and Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781483326832
James, L. E., Burke, D. M., Austin, A. and Hulme, E. (1998) Production and perception of ‘verbosity’ in younger and older adults. Psychology and Aging 13 (3): 355–367. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0882-7974.13.3.355
Johnson, P. (2002) The use of humor and its influences on spirituality and coping in breast cancer survivors. Oncology Nursing Forum 29 (4): 691–695. http://dx.doi.org/10.1188/02.ONF.691-695
Kemper, S. (1992) Adults’ sentence fragments: who, what, when, where, and why. Communication Research 19 (4): 444–458. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/009365092019004003
Krause, N. (1997) Anticipated support, received support, and economic stress among older adults. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences 52 (6): 284–293. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/geronb/52B.6.P284
LaBarge, E., Edwards, D. and Knesevich, J. W. (1986) Performance of normal elderly on the Boston Naming Test. Brain and Language 27 (2): 380–384. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0093-934X(86)90026-X
Lang, F. R. and Carstensen, L. L. (1994) Close emotional relationships in late life: Further support for proactive aging in the social domain. Psychology and Aging 9 (2): 315–324. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0882-7974.9.2.315
Lee, D. J. and Markides, K. S. (1990) Activity and mortality among aged persons over an eight-year period. The Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences 45 (1): S39–S42. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/geronj/45.1.S39
Liang, J., Bennett, J. M., Krause, N. M., Chang, M. C., Lin, H. S., Chuang, Y. L. and Wu, S. C. (1999) Stress, social relations, and old age mortality in Taiwan. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology 52 (10): 983–995. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0895-4356(99)00080-3
MacKay, A., Connor, L. T., Albert, M. L. and Obler, L. K. (2002) Noun and verb retrieval in healthy aging. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society 8 (1): 764–770. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1355617702860040
MacNeil, R. D. (2001). Bob Dylan and the Baby Boom generation: The times they are a-changin’ – again. Activities, Adaptation, and Aging 25 (3/4): 45–58. http://dx.doi.org/10.1300/J016v25n03_04
Mahncke, H. W., Bronstone, A. and Merzenich, M. M. (2006) Brain plasticity and functional losses in the aged: Scientific bases for a novel intervention. Progress in Brain Research 157: 81–109. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0079-6123(06)57006-2
McKhann, G., Drachman, D., Folstein, M., Katzman, R. Price, D. and Stadlan, E. M. (1984) Clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease: Report of the NINCDS-ADRDA Work Group under the auspices of Department of Health and Human Services Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease. Neurology 34 (7): 939–944. http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.34.7.939
Michael, Y. L., Colditz, G. A., Coakley, E. and Kawachi, I. (1999) Health behaviors, social networks, and healthy aging: Cross-sectional evidence from the Nurses’ Health Study. Quality of Life Research: An International Journal of Quality of Life Aspects of Treatment, Care, and Rehabilitation 8 (8): 711–722. http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/A:1008949428041
Mroczek, D. K. and Kolarz, C. M. (1998) The effect of age on positive and negative affect: A development perspective on happiness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 75 (5): 1333–1349. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.75.5.1333
Obler, L. K. and Albert, M. L. (1985) Language skills across adulthood. In J. E. Birren and K. W. Schaie (eds), Handbook of the Psychology of Aging (2nd edn, pp. 463–473). New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.
Palmore, E. (1981) Social Patterns in Normal Aging: Findings from the Duke Longitudinal Study. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Park, D. C. and Gutchess, A. H. (2005) Long-term memory and aging: A cognitive neuroscience perspective. In R. Cabeza, L. Nyberg and D. Park (eds), Cognitive Neuroscience of Aging: Linking Cognitive and Cerebral Aging, 218–245. New York: Oxford University Press.
Park, D. C., Smith, A. D., Lautenschlager, G., Earles, J. L., Frieske, D., Zwahr, M. and Gaines, C. L. (1996) Mediators of long-term memory performance across the life span. Psychology and Aging 11 (4): 621–637. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0882-7974.11.4.621
Pasquali, E. A. (1990) Learning to laugh: Humor as therapy. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services 28 (3): 31–35.
Pickholtz, J. L. and Malamut, B. L. (2008). Cognitive changes associated with normal aging. In J. I. Sirven and B. L. Malamut (eds), Clinical Neurology of the Older Adults, 64–76. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Reuter-Lorenz, P. A. and Sylvester, C. Y. C. (2005) The cognitive neuroscience of working memory and aging. In R. Cabeza, L. Nyberg and D. Park (eds), Cognitive Neuroscience of Aging: Linking Cognitive and Cerebral Aging, 186–217. New York: Oxford University Press.
Ritchie, K., Touchon, J., Ledesert, B., Leibovici, D. and Gorce, A. M. (1997) Establishing the limits and characteristics of normal age-related cognitive decline. Rev Epidemio Sante Publique 45 (5): 373–381.
Salthouse, T. A. (1991) Theoretical Perspectives on Cognitive Aging. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Salthouse, T. A. (1996) The processing-speed theory of adult age differences in cognition. Psychological Review 103 (3): 403–428. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.103.3.403
Sherzer, J. (2002) Speech Play and Verbal Art. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.
Shune, S. and Duff, M. C. (2012) Verbal play as an interactional discourse resource in early stage Alzheimer’s disease. Aphasiology 26 (6): 811–825. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02687038.2011.650626
Solomon, J. C. (1996) Humor and aging well: A laughing matter or a matter of laughing? American Behavioral Scientist 39 (3): 249–271. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0002764296039003004
Straehle, C. A. (1993) ‘Samuel?’ ‘Yes, dear?’ Teasing and conversational rapport. In D. Tannen (ed.), Framing in Discourse, 210–230. New York: Oxford University Press.
Tennant, K. F. (1990) Laugh it off. The effect of humor on the well-being of the older adult. Journal of Gerontological Nursing 16 (12): 11–17. http://dx.doi.org/10.3928/0098-9134-19901201-05
Thornton, R. and Light, L. L. (2006) Language comprehension and production in normal aging. In J. E. Birren and K. W. Schaie (eds), Handbook of the Psychology of Aging (6th edn, pp. 261–287). San Diego, CA: Academic Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/B978-012101264-9/50015-X
Tse, M. M. Y., Lo, A. P. K., Cheng, T. L. Y., Chan, E. K. K., Chan, A. H. Y. and Chung, H. S. W. (2010) Humor therapy: Relieving chronic pain and enhancing happiness for older adults. Journal of Aging Research. http://dx.doi.org/10.4061/2010/343574
Verhaeghen, P. (2003) Aging and vocabulary scores: A meta-analysis. Psychology and Aging 18 (2): 332–339. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0882-7974.18.2.332
Victor, C., Scambler, S., Bond, J. and Bowling, A. (2000) Being alone in later life: Loneliness, social isolation and living alone. Reviews in Clinical Gerontology 10 (4): 407–417. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0959259800104101

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.





Equinox Publishing Ltd - 415 The Workstation 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)114 221-0285 - Email: info@equinoxpub.com

Privacy Policy