Item Details

Autobiographic episodes as languaging: Affective and cognitive changes in an older adult

Issue: Vol 1 No. 1 (2014)

Journal: Language and Sociocultural Theory

Subject Areas: Writing and Composition Linguistics

DOI: 10.1558/lst.v1i1.75


The purpose of our program of research is to explore the role of languaging on the part of older adults residing in long-term care facilities. We suggest that languaging-based activities can enhance the quality of life of such older adults including aspects of their cognition and affect. Languaging is the use of language to mediate cognitive and affective processes (Swain, 2006, 2010). In this case study, Mary (a resident) engages in the effortful re-construction of autobiographic episodes. Through microgenetic analysis we document changes in Mary’s emotional response to recreating aspects of her life history, and a change in her cognition involving a shift from other- to self-regulation in her ability to remember past events. We argue that Mary’s narration of past events (a type of languaging) is related to her positive affective and cognitive changes; this is consistent with Vygotsky’s view that cognition and affect are inextricably intertwined.

Author: Kyoko Motobayashi, Merrill Swain, Sharon Lapkin

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