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The aging lexicon: Differences in the semantic networks of younger and older adults

Wulff, Dirk and Hills, Thomas and Lachman, Margie and Mata, Rui. (2016) The aging lexicon: Differences in the semantic networks of younger and older adults. In: Proceedings of the 38th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, TX, pp. 907-912.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/45119/

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Abstract

How does the mental lexicon, the network of learned words in our semantic memory, change in old age? To address this question, we employ a new network inference method to infer networks from verbal fluency data of a group of younger and older adults. We find that older adults produce more unique words in verbal fluency tasks than younger adults. In line with recent theorizing, this suggests a larger mental lexicon for older than for younger adults. Moreover, we find that relative to the mental lexicon of younger adults, the mental lexicon of older adults is less small-world-like. Based on several findings linking network clustering to processing speed, this finding suggests that not only the size, but also the structure of the mental lexicon may contribute to apparent cognitive decline in old age.
Faculties and Departments:07 Faculty of Psychology > Departement Psychologie > Forschungsbereich Sozial-, Wirtschafts- und Entscheidungspsychologie > Cognitive and Decision Sciences (Mata)
UniBasel Contributors:Mata, Rui
Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item, refereed
Conference or workshop item Subtype:Conference Paper
Publisher:Cognitive Science Society
ISBN:978-0-9911967-3-9
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Conference paper
Last Modified:18 Jun 2018 17:32
Deposited On:22 Nov 2017 14:29

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