Age-related psychomotor slowing as an important component of verbal fluency

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Generalized psychomotor slowing is a characteristic of normal aging, and there is evidence suggesting that this feature is also central in dementia. The present article aims to evaluate the importance of psychomotor slowing as a factor underlying changes in the performance of verbal fluency tasks in normal and pathological aging. In study 1 reading and handwriting speed were used to predict performance on written and oral verbal fluency tasks (VFTs) in healthy elderly subjects (n = 20) and in patients of the Alzheimer type disease (n = 20). In study 2, spectrographic techniques were used to obtain reaction times, average of voice intensity and duration of single word production in young individuals (n = 20), healthy elderly subjects (n = 20), and in patients of the Alzheimer type disease (n = 7). Additionally, duration of single word production were also obtained. The results suggest that age-related psychomotor decline in word production speed is an important determinant of VFT.

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