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Exp Aging Res. 1986 Summer;12(2):95-8.

Age differences in the commonality of free associations.


Commonality of associative response provides an index of the organization of semantic memory. The present study investigated age differences in semantic organization by comparing commonality of associative response. Thirty young (M = 20 yrs) and 30 old (M = 72 yrs) adults gave free associations to single stimulus words of high or low linguistic frequency. Controlling statistically for education and verbal skills, it was determined that there were no age differences in the commonality or variability of associates. Results are discussed in reference to developmental trends in the organization of semantic memory.

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