Semantic category fluency versus initial letter fluency over 60 seconds as a measure of automatic and controlled processing in healthy school-aged children

P.P.M. Hurks*, J.S.H. Vles, J.G.M. Hendriksen, A.C. Kalff, F.J.M. Feron, M. Kroes, T.M. van Zeben, J.G.P.L.E. Steyaert, J. Jolles

*Corresponding author for this work

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Verbal fluency was operationalized as the number of words produced in a restricted category (i.e., semantic category [SCF] and words beginning with a given letter [ILF]) in 60 seconds. Word production in the first 15 seconds of either type of fluency task was defined as a measure of automatic information processing, whereas word production in the remaining 45 seconds (in 15-second periods) was taken as a measure of controlled information processing. Data revealed that over 60 seconds healthy children aged 8.4-9.7 years (n = 91) produced significantly more words and less incorrect responses on the SCF task than on the ILF task. Although word production was a function of both type of task and time, it was highest in the initial time slice of either type of fluency and decreased as time on task increased. Finally, no sex differences were found for any measure of performance on either type of fluency task. In contrast, the level of occupational achievement of the caregiver (LOA) appeared to be a determinant of the childs performance on either type of fluency task, indicating that LOA affects higher-order processes, such as the automation of newly learned verbal skills and effortful processing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)684-695
JournalJournal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006

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