Age-related differences in word-retrieval but not in meaning generation

Gitit Kavé, Nira Mashal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines age-associated changes in retrieval on a picture-naming task, phonemic and semantic fluency tasks, and the Homophone Meaning Generation Test (HMGT). The sample included 152 Hebrew-speaking adults, half young (mean age 22.75) and half old (mean age 76.05). Groups differed on the picture-naming task and on both verbal fluency tasks, but not on the HMGT. Age explained a greater share of the variance than did education level on these three tests, whereas the opposite pattern of results was seen on the HMGT. We suggest that age-related word finding difficulties are attenuated when performance allows for semantic rather than phonological access.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)515-529
Number of pages15
JournalAging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Part of this work was supported by a research fund from the Open University granted to the first author (grant number 46310). We thank Hadas Bar, Tamar Chotzen, Nilly Degany, Or Shperling, and Sharon Ziman for their help in collecting and coding the older adult data. There are no financial or other relationships that could be interpreted as a conflict of interests.

Copyright 2012 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Category fluency
  • Cognitive aging
  • Homophone meaning generation
  • Language testing
  • Naming
  • Verbal fluency


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