The abilities associated with verbal fluency performance in a young, healthy population are multifactorial and differ across fluency variants

Claudine Kraan, Renerus-John Stolwyk, Renee Rebecca Testa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Numerous variants of verbal fluency tasks exist within clinical and research domains that purport to measure executive function. However, to date, there has been a paucity of research examining what specific abilities are measured by these tasks. In this study, the relationships between a select group of cognitive constructs and phonemic, semantic, alternating, and excluded-letter verbal fluency tests were examined in 93 young healthy individuals (aged 18 to 35 years old). Forward-selection multiple regression analyses were performed for each fluency task. Phonemic fluency was associated with verbal intellectual function and processing speed; semantic fluency was associated with working memory and semantic word retrieval; excluded-letter fluency was associated with processing speed; and alternating fluency was associated with semantic word retrieval. These results highlight verbal intellectual function, processing speed, and semantic word-retrieval contributions to verbal fluency performances. The main conclusion from this study is that the abilities associated with verbal fluency performance in a young healthy population are multifactorial and differ across fluency variants. These findings progress our theoretical understanding of what is measured by different verbal fluency tasks and will assist interpretation of performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159 - 168
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Neuropsychology: Adult
Volume20
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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