The Aphasiology Archive
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Effects of age, gender, and education on semantic fluency for living and artifact categories

Cameron, Rosalea M. and Wambaugh, Julie L. and Mauszycki, Shannon
Effects of age, gender, and education on semantic fluency for living and artifact categories . Aphasiology, 22(7-8), July, 2008, pages 790-801.


Background: Evidence exists that many individuals with neurological damage exhibit a “category effect”, typically naming more artifact than living items. However, there is a paucity of research exploring the existence of a category effect with neurologically intact individuals. The investigations performed to date have focused on a limited number of categories, and most authors have not controlled for possible age, gender, and/or education-related effects among groups.

Aims: The purpose of this study was to explore the effects of age, gender, and education on semantic fluency for four living and four artifact categories.

Methods & Procedures: A total of 60 individuals recruited from four groups participated in the study: younger males, younger females, older males, and older females. Each group of 15 individuals was matched for years of education. Participants were asked to name as many items as possible in four living categories: birds, four-footed animals, fruits, and vegetables as well as four artifact categories: tools, kitchen utensils, furniture, and clothing.

Outcomes & Results: There was no significant difference between living and artifact domains. With regard to specific categories, females named significantly more fruit and furniture items, while males named more tools. Younger females with fewer than 16 years of education named the most fruits, and participants with at least 16 years of education had an advantage for clothing. Older males and younger females named more four-footed animals than did their gender-matched peers.

Conclusions: In contrast to previous reports, this investigation failed to identify naming differences between living and artifact domains, which might partly be related to dissimilar task demands (i.e., semantic fluency versus confrontation naming). However, several gender-based differences observed for specific categories were consistent with previous research. Moreover, the use of a broader range of categories exposed additional differences in naming performance.

EPrint Type:Journal (Paginated)
ID Code:1800
Conference:Clinical Aphasiology Conference: Clinical Aphasiology Conference (2007 : 37th : Scottsdale, AZ : May 22-26, 2007)
Publisher:Taylor and Francis
Alternative Locations:
DOI or Unique Handle:10.1080/02687030701818018
Additional Information:Access to the full text is subject to the publisher's access restrictions.