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J Gerontol. 1982 Jul;37(4):432-7.

Free associations of older adults to single words and conceptually related word triads.


Verbal free association responses were elicited to 56 single-word stimuli and 30 triads of conceptually related words from 95 older adults (52 to 90 years) and 31 younger adults (23 to 49). For single words, the distribution of paradigmatic and syntagmatic associations was similar for the older and younger samples; multiple regression analysis indicated that, although vocabulary scores were a good predictor of type of response, age was not. Specific responses to single words were similar for older and younger adults; there was some evidence of a slight reduction in commonality of associations with aging. For triad stimuli, the levels of responses reflecting shared membership in a natural category or a shared characteristic (sensory) feature were similar for younger and older adults; again vocabulary scores consistently predicted such responses, but age did not.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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