Exploring age-related changes in inter-brain synchrony during verbal communication

Suzanne Dikker*, Emily N. Mech, Laura Gwilliams, Tessa West, Guillaume Dumas, Kara D. Federmeier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Successful communication is key to health in older age. This is true in the narrow sense of being able to gain critical information, e.g., from health care providers, but also more broadly in being able to maintain social ties and pursue meaningful activities, which, in turn, are central to maintaining health and well-being. Compared to younger adults, older adults show both quantitative and qualitative changes in how information is processed and used over time to achieve comprehension. Such systematic age-related neural dissimilarities in processing dynamics and strategies raise fundamental questions about how the human brain supports cross-generational communication, especially in light of accumulating evidence linking interpersonal similarities in brain responses to communicative success. Yet despite its prevalence and tangible health-related importance, naturalistic intergenerational communication involving older adults is understudied. In this chapter, we lay out why filling this research gap is critical in advancing our understanding of naturalistic communication, with implications for both science and practice.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCognitive Aging
EditorsKara D. Federmeier, Brennan R. Payne
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages40
ISBN (Electronic)9780323990257
ISBN (Print)9780323990240
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NamePsychology of Learning and Motivation - Advances in Research and Theory
PublisherAcademic Press Inc
ISSN (Print)0079-7421

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research reported in this paper was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation (#1344285 and #1661016), the National Institute of Aging (NIA-AG026308), the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (#275-89-018 and #406.18.GO.024), the Institute for Data Valorization (IVADO; CF00137433), Montreal, and the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ; 285289).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Inc.


  • Accommodation
  • Aging
  • Alignment
  • Conversation
  • Inter-brain synchrony
  • Intergenerational communication
  • Language
  • Neural coupling
  • Neural rhythms
  • Predictive coding
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Speech rate


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