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25 Exploring Phonemic and Semantic Fluency Ability Across Multiple Generations

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 December 2023

Krithika Sivaramakrishnan*
Affiliation:
California State University, Fresno, Fresno, CA, USA. The Lundquist Institute, Torrance, CA, USA.
Dorthy Schmidt
Affiliation:
California State University, Fresno, Fresno, CA, USA.
Krissy E Smith
Affiliation:
The Lundquist Institute, Torrance, CA, USA. California State University, Dominguez Hills, Carson, CA, USA.
Brittany Heuchert
Affiliation:
California State University, Fresno, Fresno, CA, USA.
Adriana C Cuello
Affiliation:
The Lundquist Institute, Torrance, CA, USA. Tecnolögico de Monterrey, Monterray, Neuvo Leon, Mexico.
Natalia L Acosta
Affiliation:
The Lundquist Institute, Torrance, CA, USA. Tecnolögico de Monterrey, Monterray, Neuvo Leon, Mexico.
Miriam Gomez
Affiliation:
The Lundquist Institute, Torrance, CA, USA. Tecnolögico de Monterrey, Monterray, Neuvo Leon, Mexico.
Isabel D Munoz
Affiliation:
The Lundquist Institute, Torrance, CA, USA. California State University, Northridge, Northridge, CA, USA.
Yvette D Jesus
Affiliation:
California State University, Fresno, Fresno, CA, USA. The Lundquist Institute, Torrance, CA, USA.
Daniel W Lopez-Hernandez
Affiliation:
The Lundquist Institute, Torrance, CA, USA. University of California, San Diego Health, San Diego, CA, USA
*
Correspondence: Krithika Sivaramakrishnan, California State University, Fresno, krithika.sivarama@gmail.com.
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Abstract

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Objective:

Verbal fluency tasks evaluate executive functioning by requiring a person to provide words within a certain time period that start with a certain letter (phonemic fluency) or category (semantic fluency). Research shows that age impacts test takers’ phonemic and semantic verbal fluency performance. In fact, it has been suggested that phonemic verbal fluency peaks around age 30 to 39 and begins to decline at older ages. In contrast to phonemic fluency, research suggests that semantic fluency increases steadily between test takers until age 12 and begins declining around age 20. A generation is a cohort of people born within a certain period who share age and experiences. Studies show that Generation X individuals (persons born between 1965-1980) outperform Generation Y (persons born between 19811995) and Generation Z individuals (persons born between 1965-1980) on the Cordoba Naming Test. To our knowledge, no study has investigated verbal fluency performance across generational groups. We predicted that Generation X individuals would outperform individuals from Generation Y and Z on both verbal fluency measures.

Participants and Methods:

The sample of the present study consisted of 107 participants with a mean age of 27.39 (SD = 9.16). Participants were divided into three groups: Generation X (n = 19), Generation Y (n = 52), and Generation Z (n = 36). The phonemic verbal fluency task consisted of three trials and the semantic verbal fluency task consisted of one trial, one minute each. A series of ANCOVAs with Bonferroni post-hoc tests were used to evaluate verbal fluency performance between generational groups. All participants passed performance validity testing.

Results:

We found significant differences between our generational groups on both verbal fluency tasks. Post-hoc tests revealed that the Generation Y group outperformed both Generation X and Z groups on both verbal fluency tasks, p’s <.05, np2 =.11 -.16. No significant differences were found on either verbal fluency task between the Generation X and Z groups.

Conclusions:

Contrary to our hypothesis, Generation Y individuals possessed better phonemic and semantic fluency than both Generation X and Z individuals. Meanwhile, Generation X individuals did not significantly differ on any of the verbal fluency tasks compared to Generation Z individuals. Speaking multiple languages has been shown to impact verbal fluency performance. In our sample, the Generation X and Z groups consisted primarily of bilingual speakers compared to the Generation Y group. Examining generational differences is essential to understand the unique characteristics and impact of the times in which various individuals have grown up. Future research, for instance, should evaluate the influence of bilingualism across generational groups on verbal fluency performance.

Type
Poster Session 05: Neuroimaging | Neurophysiology | Neurostimulation | Technology | Cross Cultural | Multiculturalism | Career Development
Copyright
Copyright © INS. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2023