Date of Award

Fall 9-15-2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Sara J. Margolin

Second Advisor

Dr. James Witnauer

Third Advisor

Dr. Stacy Birch

Abstract

The present research aimed to explore the effects of age and hyperlink text on reading comprehension, while assessing the role of working memory within the reading process; specifically any evident tax on working memory when considering the complex text. Expository passages were presented in three formats: hyperlink pages, PDF files, and printed versions in order to evaluate comprehension across reading platforms. Results indicated that successful and comparable comprehension may occur across the multiple platforms. Further, older adults showed to have significantly better comprehension than college-age participants, suggesting high levels of cognitive activity on behalf of the older adults. Working memory scores did not significantly differ when comparing older and younger adults. In addition, working memory was not shown to be impactful to the reading process within this study, potentially due to much practice and experience on behalf of the older adults. Implications of these findings as they pertain to website use and educational purposes are discussed.

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