Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 7
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Baciu, M. Boudiaf, N. Cousin, E. Perrone-Bertolotti, M. Pichat, C. Fournet, N. Chainay, H. Lamalle, L. and Krainik, A. 2016. Functional MRI evidence for the decline of word retrieval and generation during normal aging. AGE, Vol. 38, Issue. 1,

    Higby, Eve and Obler, Loraine K. 2016. Length of residence: Does it make a difference in older bilinguals?. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, Vol. 6, Issue. 1-2, p. 43.

    Kim, Bo Seon Lee, Mi Sook and Kim, HyangHee 2015. Subjective Language Complaints: Are They Reflected in Objective Language Test Performance?. Communication Sciences & Disorders, Vol. 20, Issue. 2, p. 214.

    Valente, Andrea and Laganaro, Marina 2015. Ageing effects on word production processes: an ERP topographic analysis. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, Vol. 30, Issue. 10, p. 1259.

    Rosselli, Mónica Ardila, Alfredo and Matute, Esmeralda 2014. Language Development across the Life Span: A Neuropsychological/Neuroimaging Perspective. Neuroscience Journal, Vol. 2014, p. 1.

    2014. Idiom properties influencing idiom production in younger and older adults. The Mental Lexicon, Vol. 9, Issue. 2, p. 294.

    김정완, 김수련, 김향희, and 황재호, 2013. Differences in Attention and Naming abilitywith Age in the Elderly. Journal of speech & hearing disorders, Vol. 22, Issue. 3, p. 25.

  • Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, Volume 19, Issue 2
  • February 2013, pp. 119-126

Changes in Naming and Semantic Abilities With Aging From 50 to 90 years

  • Clémence Verhaegen (a1) and Martine Poncelet (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 14 December 2012

The aim of this study was to determine whether naming difficulties arise in individuals as young as their 50s. Participants of 25–35, 50–59, 60–69, and above 70 years of age were given a picture naming task. To uncover subtle naming difficulties, latencies were analyzed in addition to accuracy. To control whether the expected slower naming latencies could be due to a general slowing affecting all cognitive tasks, participants were also given an odd/even judgment task to assess cognitive processing speed. The results confirmed that participants in their 50s presented decline in naming performance, reflected by an increase in naming latencies, whereas adults in their 60s and their 70s showed both a decrease in accuracy and an increase in latency. Moreover, the increase in naming latencies remained significant even after controlling for odd/even judgment latencies, suggesting a degradation specific to the picture naming task. We assumed that these slower latencies may result from a language-specific impairment. As a further test for language-specific degradation, participants’ semantic capacities were also assessed with a synonym judgment task and the Pyramids and Palm Trees test. The above-70 group showed semantic degradation. The contributions of multiple factors to naming difficulties in aging are discussed. (JINS, 2013, 19, 1–8)

Corresponding author
Correspondence and reprint requests to: Clémence Verhaegen, University of Liège, Department of Psychology: Cognition and Behavior, B33 Boulevard du Rectorat, 4000 Liège, Belgium. E-mail:
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

M.L. Albert , A. Spiro , K.J. Sayers , J.A. Cohen , C.B. Brady , M. Goral , L.K. Obler (2009). Effects of health status on word finding in aging. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 57, 23002305.

B. Barresi , M. Nicholas , L.T. Connor , L.K. Obler , M.L. Albert (2000). Semantic degradation and lexical access in age-related naming failures. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 7(3), 169178.

P. Bonin , R. Peereman , N. Maladier , A. Méot , M. Chalard (2003). A new set of 299 pictures for psycholinguistic studies: French norms for name agreement, image agreement, conceptual familiarity, visual complexity, image variability, age of acquisition, and naming latencies. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 35(1), 158167.

D.M. Burke , D.G. MacKay , J.S. Worthley , E. Wade (1991). On the tip of the tongue: What causes word finding failures in young and older adults? Journal of Memory and Language, 30(1), 542579.

D.M. Burke , M.A. Shafto (2004). Aging and language production. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 13(1), 2124.

M.R. Clark-Cotton , R.K. Williams , M. Goral , L.K. Obler (2007). Language and communication in aging. In J.E. Birren (Ed.), Encyclopedia of gerontology: Age, aging, and the aged (2nd ed., pp. 18). London: Elsevier.

L.T. Connor , A. Spiro , L.K. Obler , M.L. Albert (2004). Change in object naming ability during adulthood. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, 59(5), 203209.

A. Desrochers , M. Bergeron (2000). Valeurs de fréquence subjective et d'imagerie pour un échantillon de 1,916 substantifs de la langue française. Revue canadienne de Psychologie Expérimentale, 54(4), 274325.

P. Feyereisen (1997). A meta-analytic procedure shows an age-related decline in picture naming: Comments on Goulet, Ska, and Kahn (1994). Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 40(6), 13281333.

M. Goral , A.I. Spiro , M.L. Albert , L.K. Obler , L.T. Connor (2007). Change in lexical skills in adulthood: Not a uniform decline. Mental Lexicon, 2, 215238.

P. Goulet , B. Ska , H.J. Kahn (1994). Is there a decline in picture naming with advancing age? Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 37(3), 629644.

A.E. Hillis , B. Rapp , C. Romani , A. Caramazza (1990). Selective impairment of semantics in lexical processing. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 7(3), 191243.

M.S. Hough (2007). Incidence of word finding deficits in normal aging. Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica, 59(1), 1019.

S.D. Lima , S. Hale , J. Myerson (1991). How general is general slowing? Evidence from the lexical domain. Psychology and Aging, 6(3), 416425.

S. Majerus , F. Lekeu , M. Van der Linden , E. Salmon (2001). Deep dysphasia: Further evidence on the relationship between phonological short-term memory and language processing impairments. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 18(5), 385410.

P. Mariën , E. Mampaey , A. Vervaet , J. Saerens , P.P. De Deyn (1998). Normative data for the Boston Naming Test in native Dutch-speaking Belgian elderly. Brain and Language, 65(3), 447467.

L. Mortensen , A.S. Meyer , G.W. Humphreys (2006). Age-related effects on speech production: A review. Language and Cognitive Processes, 21(1/2/3), 238290.

J. Myerson , F. Ferraro , S. Hale , S. Lima (1992). General slowing in semantic priming and word recognition. Psychology and Aging, 7(2), 257270.

Y. Neumann , L.K. Obler , H. Gomes , V. Shafer (2009). Phonological vs sensory contributions to age effects in naming: An electrophysiological study. Aphasiology, 23(7-8), 10281039.

M. Nicholas , L.T. Connor , L.K. Obler , M.L. Albert (1998). Aging, language, and language disorders. In M.T. Sarno (Ed.), Acquired aphasia (pp. 413449). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

M. Nicholas , L.K. Obler , M.L. Albert , H. Goodglass (1985). Lexical retrieval in healthy aging. Cortex, 21(1), 595606.

T.A. Salthouse (1996). The processing-speed theory of adult age differences in cognition. Psychological Review, 103(3), 403428.

R. Schmidt , W. Freidl , F. Fasekas , B. Reinhart , P. Grieshofer , M. Koch , H. Lechner (1994). Mattis Dementia Rating Scale. Neurology, 44, 964966.

D. Samson , A. Pillon , V. De Wilde (1998). Impaired knowledge of visual and non-visual attributes in a patient with a semantic impairment for living entities: A case of a true category-specific deficit. Neurocase, 4(4-5), 273290.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society
  • ISSN: 1355-6177
  • EISSN: 1469-7661
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-international-neuropsychological-society
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *