Article

Differential impacts of age of acquisition on letter and semantic fluency in Alzheimer's disease patients and healthy older adults.

Department of Psychology, Lehman College, City University of New York, Bronx, NY 10468-1589, USA.
Quarterly journal of experimental psychology (2006) (Impact Factor: 1.73). 08/2011; 64(12):2383-91. DOI: 10.1080/17470218.2011.596660
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The degree to which the typical age of acquisition (AoA) of words and word frequency have separable influences on verbal production tasks has been strongly debated. To examine the overlap between these factors in verbal fluency tasks, the performance of Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients (N = 34) and normal elderly controls (N = 36) was compared on semantic (e.g., vegetables) and letter (e.g., words that begin with F) fluency tasks. These comparisons revealed that words generated for the semantic fluency task had an earlier AoA while words generated for the letter fluency task had a higher word frequency. Differences in AoA between AD patients and controls were larger for semantic than letter fluency. These results suggest that AoA has an effect on verbal production that is independent of word frequency and that AoA has a semantic locus.

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