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Animal fluency drivers of performance (Rofes et al., 2023)

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posted on 2023-07-26, 22:22 authored by Adrià Rofes, Magdalena Beran, Roel Jonkers, Mirjam I. Geerlings, Jet M. J. Vonk

Purpose: In this study, we aim to understand whether and how performance in animal fluency (i.e., total correct word count) relates to linguistic levels and/or executive functions by looking at sequence information and item-level metrics (i.e., clusters, switches, and word properties).

Method: Seven hundred thirty-one Dutch-speaking individuals without dementia from the Second Manifestations of ARTerial disease-Magnetic Resonance study responded to an animal fluency task (120 s). We obtained cluster size and number of switches for the task, and eight different word properties for each correct word produced. We detected variables that determine total word count with random forests, and used conditional inference trees to assess points along the scales of such variables, at which total word count changes significantly.

Results: Number of switches, average cluster size, lexical decision response times, word frequency, and concreteness determined total correct word count in animal fluency. People who produced more correct words produced more switches and bigger clusters. People who produced fewer words produced fewer switches and more frequent words.

Conclusions: Concurrent with existing literature, individuals without dementia rely on language and executive functioning to produce words in animal fluency. The novelty of our work is that such results were shown based on a data-driven approach using sequence information and item-level metrics.

Supplemental Material S1. Supplemental analyses.

Rofes, A., Beran, M., Jonkers, R., Geerlings, M. I., & Vonk, J. M. J. (2023). What drives task performance in animal fluency in individuals without dementia? The SMART-MR study. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 66(9), 3473–3485.


Jet M. J. Vonk was supported by the National Institute on Aging under Award K99AG066934, NWO/ZonMw under Veni Grant Project Number 09150161810017, and by Alzheimer Nederland under Fellowship WE.15-2018-05. Adrià Rofes was supported by NWO under SSH XS Grant Project Number 406.XS.01.050.