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Normative data for the Animal, Profession and Letter M Naming verbal fluency tests for Dutch speaking participants and the effects of age, education, and sex


Previous research has indicated that performance on verbal fluency tests (VFTs) is influenced by language and/or culture. Consequently, normative VFT data for English-speaking people cannot be used for people for whom English is not their first language. The aim of the present study was to provide normative data for the Animal Naming, Profession Naming, and Letter M Naming (four-letter words beginning with the letter M) VFTs for Dutch-speaking populations, based on a large sample (N = 1856) of healthy men and women aged 24–81 years of different educational levels. The results showed that age affected the performance of all VFTs profoundly, but the age effect was not uniform: in the Profession and Letter M Naming VFTs, performance was stable in young adulthood but declined strongly after age 50. In contrast, in the Animal Naming VFT, performance appeared to decline linearly, starting early in life. Furthermore, males had higher scores than females on the Profession Naming VFT, and higher educated participants outperformed their lower educated counterparts on all three VFTs. Regression-based normative data were prepared for the 3 VFTs, and the advantages of using a regression-based normative approach instead of a traditional normative approach are discussed. (JINS, 2006, 12, 80–89.)

Corresponding author
Reprint requests: Jelle Jolles, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, Maastricht University, PO Box 616, 6200 MD, Maastricht, The Netherlands. E-mail:
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