Vol. 12 nº 4 - Oct/Nov/Dec de 2018
Original Article Páginas: 360 a 367

Influence of age and education on the processing of clustering and switching in verbal fluency tasks

Authors Andressa Hermes Pereira1; Ana Bresolin Gonçalves2; Maila Holz3; Hosana Alves Gonçalves3; Renata Kochhann4; Yves Joanette5; Nicolle Zimmermann6; Rochele Paz Fonseca4


keywords: verbal fluency, clustering, switching, age effect, educational level effect.

Verbal fluency (VF) is a widely used tool in neuropsychological assessment.
OBJECTIVE: We aimed to investigate the influence of age and educational level on clustering and switching in three VF modalities: phonemic (PVF), semantic (SVF) and unconstrained (UVF). We evaluated type of cluster, mean cluster size, and quantity of clusters, intersections, and returns. A total of 260 healthy subjects were assessed.
METHODS: Participants were divided into three age groups: young adults (18 to 39 years), middle-aged adults (40 to 59 years) and older adults (60 to 80 years) and into two groups of educational level: 1-8 years (low), 9 years or more (high). A two-way ANOVA analysis was conducted to analyze the effect of age and educational level and its interactions. A repeated measures ANOVA was performed to verify the performance during the task.
RESULTS: A main effect of age was detected on the UVF and SVF scores for total switches, taxonomic clusters, and for the total semantic clusters on the SVF. There was a greater effect of educational level on total switches (UVF, PFV and SVF), taxonomic clusters (UVF and SVF), thematic clusters and total semantic cluster (UVF), phonemic and mixed clusters (PVF), mean cluster size (UVF and SVF) and intersections (SVF). Educational level had a greater effect on all three VF tasks.


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