Comparing the difficulty of letter, semantic, and name fluency tasks for normal elderly and patients with Parkinson's disease

Tamiko Azuma, Kathryn A. Bayles, Robyn F. Cruz, Cheryl K. Tomoeda, Jody A. Wood, Anna McGeagh, Erwin B. Montgomery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

50 Scopus citations

Abstract

Research on the effect of Parkinson's disease (PD) on verbal fluency has produced conflicting results. In this study, 88 PD patients with no dementia, 11 PD patients with questionable mental status, 15 PD patients with dementia, and 46 elders free from mental disorder were administered a variety of semantic, letter, and name fluency tasks. The results revealed that, contrary to popular assumption, semantic fluency was not always superior to letter fluency. Rather, verbal fluency was influenced by the nature of the individual categories. Interestingly, the relative difficulty of many categories was fairly stable across groups. The results also indicated that the individual fluency tasks were differentially sensitive to the mental status of the PD patients. Overall, the findings suggest that closer attention to the nature of the tested categories may help clarify the inconsistent effects of PD on verbal fluency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)488-497
Number of pages10
JournalNeuropsychology
Volume11
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 5 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

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