Verbal knowledge and speed of information processing as mediators of age differences in verbal fluency performance among older adults

J Bryan, M A Luszcz, John Robertson Crawford

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105 Citations (Scopus)


Age-related declines in verbal fluency among a large sample of older adults were investigated. Background variables, verbal knowledge, and speed of processing were examined as predictors of verbal fluency and its mediators of age effects. As expected, age-related declines were greater on the excluded letter fluency task than on the initial letter fluency task. Verbal knowledge was a better predictor of initial letter fluency than speed of processing, whereas the reverse was true for excluded letter fluency. However, speed of processing accounted for more of the age-related variance in both fluency measures than the other predictors. There was no evidence of verbal knowledge compensating for age-related declines in verbal fluency. Results suggest that verbal fluency performance is well maintained in late life and that any age-related decline appears to be mainly due to declines in speed of information processing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-478
Number of pages6
JournalPsychology and Aging
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1997


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