Do you agree that older adults perceive words differently from young adults, and learn more innuendos and double meanings?

I read a science article that stated that adults continue to learn words and vocabulary throughout their life, so that a fifty-year-old will have a more attentive sense of the lexicon than a 25 year old. It said that young people have a faster learning ability for most things, however older adults continue to develop figures of speech and sound-symbolism throughout their life, and know a lot more than young people do. The article stated that adults build big networks of word associations which are different that younger adults, but I cannot find the study anymore. My friend says it's not true.

The article was worded quite explicitly and intelligently, it dealt with rarely studied notions of middle-age auditive ability and lexicon for which I cannot recall the keywords.

The notion that older adults perceive words differently and less litteraly than young adults: what is the name of that field of study? Can you find an article about it?

  • 1
    What do you mean by "hear", or "older". Because of hearing loss, I "hear" words differently than I did 50 years ago. Is that what you are asking about? The rest of your question isn't about hearing, it's more about literacy, expansion of semantic knowledge and stuff like that: not about hearing.
    – user6726
    Mar 13 '21 at 23:54
  • 3
    If you could reference the "science article" you read, we'd know more about the evidence, and maybe find other references, but your description doesn't ring any bells, I'm afraid.
    – jlawler
    Mar 14 '21 at 15:30
  • 2
    It could be psycholinguistics or language acquisition or cognitive psychology.
    – Alex B.
    Mar 14 '21 at 19:35
  • 1
    You may want to take a look at Gaskell, M. Gareth, and Andrew W. Ellis. "Introduction: Word Learning and Lexical Development across the Lifespan." Philosophical Transactions: Biological Sciences 364, no. 1536 (2009): 3607-615. Accessed March 14, 2021. jstor.org/stable/40538178
    – Alex B.
    Mar 14 '21 at 19:43
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    or Mani, N., & Borovsky, A. (2018). Building a lexical network. In G. Westermann & N. Mani (Eds.), Current issues in developmental psychology. Early word learning (p. 57–69). psycnet.apa.org/record/2018-00894-005
    – Alex B.
    Mar 14 '21 at 19:45

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