Skip to main content Accessibility help

Which Language Declines More? Longitudinal versus Cross-sectional Decline of Picture Naming in Bilinguals with Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Iva Ivanova (a1), David P. Salmon (a2) and Tamar H. Gollan (a1)


In this study, we investigated dual-language decline in non-balanced bilinguals with probable Alzheimer’s disease (AD) both longitudinally and cross-sectionally. We examined patients’ naming accuracy on the Boston Naming Test (BNT: Kaplan et al., 1983) over three testing sessions (longitudinal analysis) and compared their performance to that of matched controls (cross-sectional analysis). We found different longitudinal and cross-sectional patterns of decline: Longitudinally, the non-dominant language seemed to decline more steeply than the dominant language, but, cross-sectionally, differences between patients and controls were larger for the dominant than for the non-dominant language, especially at the initial testing session. This differential pattern of results for cross-sectional versus longitudinal decline was supported by correlations between decline measures and BNT item characteristics. Further studies will be needed to better characterize the nature of linguistic decline in bilinguals with AD; however, these results suggest that representational robustness of individual lexical representations, rather than language membership, might determine the time course of decline for naming in bilinguals with AD. (JINS, 2014, 20, 1–13)


Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to: Iva Ivanova, 9500 Gilman Drive, 0948 Department of Psychiatry University of California, San Diego La Jolla, California 92093-0948 USA. E-mail:


Hide All
Acevedo, A., Krueger, K.R., Navarro, E., Ortiz, F., Manly, J.J., Padilla-Velez, M.M., … Mungas, D. (2009). The Spanish translation and adaptation of the Uniform Data Set of the National Institute on Aging Alzheimer’s Disease Centers. Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders, 23, 102109.
Alzheimer’s Disease International. (2010). World Alzheimer Report 2010. Retrieved from
Baayen, R.H. (2008). Analyzing linguistic data: A practical introduction to statistics using R. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Backman, L., Jones, S., Berger, A.K., Laukka, E.J., & Small, B.J. (2004). Multiple cognitive deficits during the transition to Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of Internal Medicine, 256(3), 195204.
Backman, L., Jones, S., Berger, A.K., Laukka, E.J., & Small, B.J. (2005). Cognitive impairment in preclinical Alzheimer’s disease: A meta-analysis. Neuropsychology, 19, 520531.
Bialystok, E., Craik, F.I.M., Green, D.W., & Gollan, T.H. (2009). Bilingual minds. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 10, 89129.
Bradley, K.M., O’Sullivan, V.T., Soper, N.D., Nagy, Z., King, E.M., Smith, A.D., & Shepstone, B.J. (2002). Cerebral perfusion SPET correlated with Braak pathological stage in Alzheimer’s disease. Brain, 125(8), 17721781.
Cortese, M.J., & Fugett, A. (2004). Imageability ratings for 3,000 monosyllabic words. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 36(3), 384387.
Costa, A., Calabria, M., Marne, P., Hernández, M., Juncadella, M., Gascón-Bayarri, J., … Reñé, R. (2012). On the parallel deterioration of lexico-semantic processes in the bilinguals' two languages: Evidence from Alzheimer’s disease. Neuropsychologia, 50, 740753.
Cuetos, F., Glez-Nosti, M., Barbon, A., & Brysbaert, M. (2011). SUBTLEX-ESP: Spanish word frequencies based on film subtitles. Psicologica, 32, 133143.
Cuetos, F., Gonzalez-Nosti, M., & Martínez, C. (2005). The picture-naming task in the analysis of cognitive deterioration in Alzheimer's disease. Aphasiology, 19, 545557.
Cuetos, F., Rosci, C., Laiacona, M., & Capitani, E. (2008). Different variables predict anomia in different subjects: A longitudinal study of two Alzheimer's patients. Neuropsychologia, 46, 249260.
Davis, C.J. (2005). N-Watch: A program for deriving neighborhood size and other psycholinguistic statistics. Behavior Research Methods, 37, 6570.
Davis, C.J., & Perea, M. (2005). BuscaPalabras: A program for deriving orthographic and phonological neighborhood statistics and other psycholinguistic indices in Spanish. Behavioral Research Methods, 37, 665671.
European Commission. (2006). Special Eurobarometer. Europeans and their languages. Retrieved from
Folstein, M.F., Folstein, S.E., & McHugh, P.R. (1975). Mini-mental state: A practical method for grading the cognitive state of patients for the clinician. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 12, 189198.
Fuller-Thomson, E., & Kuh, D. (2013). The healthy migrant effect may confound the link between bilingualism and delayed onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Cortex. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2013.08.009
Gaillard, M.J., Girard, C., Lemarchand, M., Eustache, F., & Hannequin, D. (1998). Effet catégorie-specifique en dénomination dans la maladie d'Alzheimer. In M.C. Gely Nargeot, K. Ritchie & J. Touchon (Eds.), Actualités sur la maladie d’Alzheimer et les syndromes apparentés (pp. 321328). Marseille: Solal.
Gollan, T.H., Salmon, D.P., Montoya, R.I., & Da Pena, E. (2010). Accessibility of the nondominant language in picture naming: A counterintuitive effect of dementia on bilingual language production. Neuropsychologia, 48, 13561366.
Gollan, T.H., Weissberger, G.H., Runnqvist, E., Montoya, R., & Cera, C. (2012). Self-ratings of spoken language dominance: A Multilingual Naming Test (MINT) and preliminary norms for young and aging Spanish-English bilinguals. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 15, 594615.
Green, D.W. (1986). Control, activation and resource. Brain and Language, 27, 210223.
Green, D.W. (1998). Mental control of the bilingual lexico-semantic system. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 1, 6781.
Guo, T., Liu, H., Misra, M., & Kroll, J.F. (2011). Local and global inhibition in bilingual word production: fMRI evidence from Chinese-English bilinguals. NeuroImage, 56, 23002309.
Ivanova, I., Salmon, D.P., & Gollan, T.H. (2013). The Multilingual Naming Test in Alzheimer’s Disease: Clues to the origin of naming impairments. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 19, 112.
Jaeger, T.F. (2008). Categorical data analysis: Away from ANOVAs (transformation or not) and towards logit mixed models. Journal of Memory and Language, 59, 434446.
Kaplan, E., Goodglass, H., & Weintraub, S. (1983). The Boston Naming Test. Philadelphia, PA: Lea & Febiger.
Kemmerer, D., & Tranel, D. (2000). Verb retrieval in brain-damaged subjects: 1. Analysis of stimulus, lexical, and conceptual factors. Brain and Language, 73, 347392.
Kremin, H., Perrier, D., De Wilde, M., Dordain, M., Le Bayon, A., Gatignol, P., … Arabia, C. (2001). Factors predicting success in picture naming in Alzheimer’s disease and primary progressive aphasia. Brain and Cognition, 46, 180183.
Kroll, J.F., & Stewart, E. (1994). Category interference in translation and picture naming: Evidence for asymmetric connections between bilingual memory representations. Journal of Memory and Language, 33(2), 149174.
Luce, P.A., & Pisoni, D.B. (1998). Recognizing spoken words: The neighbourhood activation model. Ear & Hearing, 19, 136.
Marian, V., Blumenfeld, H.K., & Kaushanskaya, M. (2007). The Language Experience and Proficiency Questionnaire (LEAP-Q): Assessing language profiles in bilinguals and multilinguals. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, 50, 940967.
Mattis, S. (1988). Dementia rating scale: Professional manual. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.
McKhann, G., Drachman, D., Folstein, M., Katzman, R., Price, D., & Stadlan, E.M. (1984). Clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease: Report of the NINCDS-ADRDA Work Group. Neurology, 34, 939944.
Mendez, M.F., Perryman, K.M., Pontón, M.O., & Cummings, J.L. (1999). Bilingualism and dementia. Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 11, 411412.
Mickes, L., Wixted, J.T., Fennema-Notestine, C., Galasko, D., Bondi, M.W., Thal, L.J., & Salmon, D.P. (2007). Progressive impairment on neuropsychological tasks in a longitudinal study of preclinical Alzheimer’s disease. Neuropsychology, 21(6), 696705.
Misra, M., Guo, T., Bobb, S., & Kroll, J.F. (2012). When bilinguals choose a single word to speak: Electrophysiological evidence for inhibition of the native language. Journal of Memory and Language, 67, 224237.
Morris, J.C., Weintraub, S., Chui, H.C., Cummings, J., Decarli, C., Ferris, S., … Kukull, W.A. (2006). The Uniform Data Set (UDS): Clinical and cognitive variables and descriptive data from Alzheimer Disease Centers. Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders, 20, 210216.
Perry, R.J., & Hodges, J.R. (1999). Attention and executive deficits in Alzheimer’s disease: A critical review. Brain, 122, 383404.
Salvatierra, J., Rosselli, M., Acevedo, A., & Duara, R. (2007). Verbal fluency in bilingual Spanish/English Alzheimer’s disease patients. American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias, 22(3), 190201.
Thompson-Schill, S.L., Gabrieli, J.D., & Fleischman, D.A. (1999). Effects of structural similarity and name frequency on picture naming in Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 5, 659667.
Van Assche, E., Duyck, W., & Gollan, T.H. (2013). Whole-language and item-specific control in bilingual language production. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition. doi:10.1037/a0032859
Vitevitch, M.S., & Sommers, M.S. (2003). The facilitative influence of phonological similarity and neighborhood frequency in speech production in younger and older adults. Memory and Cognition, 31(4), 491504.
Weintraub, S., Salmon, D., Mercaldo, N., Ferris, S., Graff-Radford, N.R., Chui, H., … Morris, J.C. (2009). The Alzheimer’s Disease Centers’ Uniform Data Set (UDS): The neuropsychologic test battery. Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders, 23, 91101.
Weissberger, G.H., Wierenga, C.E., Bondi, M.W., & Gollan, T.H. (2012). Partially overlapping mechanisms of language and task control in young and older bilinguals. Psychology and Aging, 27, 959974.
Zahodne, L.B., Schofield, P.W., Farrell, M.T., Stern, Y., & Manly, J.J. (2013). Bilingualism does not alter cognitive decline or dementia risk among Spanish-speaking immigrants. Neuropsychology. doi:10.1037/neu0000014


Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Which Language Declines More? Longitudinal versus Cross-sectional Decline of Picture Naming in Bilinguals with Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Iva Ivanova (a1), David P. Salmon (a2) and Tamar H. Gollan (a1)


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.