The effect of age of acquisition on older individuals with and without cognitive impairments

Jonathan Catling, Felicity South, Kevin Dent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The present study compared the effects of age of acquisition (AoA) on object naming across groups of older individuals with cognitive impairments, healthy older controls, and young healthy controls. All participants named a set of 80 pictures, within which both AoA and frequency were manipulated orthogonally. Early-acquired objects were named faster than late-acquired objects across all groups. Response time also declined with age and with cognitive impairment between the groups. The effect of AoA differed across groups, with AoA effects being largest for the older group with cognitive impairments and smallest for the young control group. The present study adds strength to the suggestion that AoA of picture names is one of the factors that influence survival or loss of memories in dementia and cognitive decline, and this could therefore be used as a potential screening test for cognitive impairment disorders in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1963-73
Number of pages11
JournalThe Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging/physiology
  • Cognition Disorders/physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Names
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Reaction Time/physiology
  • Recognition (Psychology)/physiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult


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