Departmental Bulletin Paper The Effects of Word Class and Aging on Verbal Fluency in Korean

Lee, Dahyun  ,  Nakamura, Hikaru  ,  Ryu, Hansu

The objective of this study is to examine the effects of word class and aging on verbal fluency in Korean to compare the results with our previous study in Japanese. Three types of verbal fluency tasks were administered in Korean to 35 healthy young and 35 healthy elderly. Each participant was instructed to generate as many different words as possible for the following five attributes within a 60-second period: (1) common nouns (“animal names” and “vegetable names”), (2) proper nouns (“company names” and “famous people’s names”) and (3) verbs (words about things people do). The results revealed that the elderly group generated significantly fewer correct responses and significantly more incorrect responses in comparison with the young group. For the verb task compared with the common noun task, there were significantly less correct responses and significantly greater incorrect responses due to aging. These poor performances in the verb fluency task because of aging were considered to be resulting from problems in executive function. Cultural influences on some of the verbal fluency performances were also considered a factor.

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