Lifespan development of phonemic and semantic fluency: Universal increase, differential decrease

Gitit Kavé*, Ariel Knafo-Noam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


The aim of this study was to examine whether performance on phonemic and semantic fluency tasks follows similar lifespan trajectories. Data from 1212 Hebrew-speakers aged 5-86 years were analyzed. Both linear and curvilinear quadratic models fit the data, reflecting a general increase in ability with age, as well as an increase followed by a decrease beyond this linear rise. A significant interaction between task type and the curvilinear effect demonstrated differential lifespan patterns of performance on each task. While scores improved similarly on the phonemic and semantic tasks during childhood, late-life decline was more noticeable on the semantic task, possibly due to the unique characteristics of aging-related word retrieval difficulties.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)751-763
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 9 Aug 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Taylor & Francis.


  • Category fluency
  • Cognitive aging
  • Lifespan development
  • Verbal fluency
  • Word retrieval


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