Susan Kemper

Graduate Advisor & Senior Scientist, Gerontology Center
Roberts Distinguished Professor of Psychology
Primary office:

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

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Related Links
Language across the Life Span:
Department of Psychology

Research Interests
With support from the National Institute on Aging since 1985, I have gone from studying how older adults' working memory limitations affected their production and comprehension, especially of complex syntax, to the study of how to enhance comprehension through "elderspeak," a special speech register targeted at older adults. I've also done some work examining how dementia, especially Alzheimer's disease, effects older adults' language and together with other researchers involved in the Nun Study, we examined early language abilities as a predictor of late-life cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease. Currently, my students and I are studying how processing limitations affect older adults' language production and comprehension, age differences in the structure of verbal abilities, effects of aging on eye movement patterns while reading, and the use of elderspeak in intergenerational discourse. Abstracts of recent publications and descriptions of work in progress can be found at the website Language Across the Lifespan.



Why KU
  • One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
  • Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
  • 44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
    —U.S. News & World Report
  • Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
  • 23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times