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See detailThe impact of aging and hearing status on verbal working memory
Verhaegen, Clémence ULg; Collette, Fabienne ULg; Majerus, Steve ULg

in Neuropsychology, Development, and Cognition. Section B, Aging, Neuropsychology and Cognition (2014), 21(4), 464-482

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See detailDissociable components of phonological and lexical-semantic short-term memory and their relation to impaired word production in aphasia
Verhaegen, Clémence ULg; PIERTOT, Florence ULg; Poncelet, Martine ULg

in Cognitive Neuropsychology (2013), 30(7-8), 544-563

This study assesses the dissociability of phonological and lexical-semantic short-term memory (STM) in two aphasic patients, B.N. and T.M., and explores the relationship between their STM deficits and ... [more ▼]

This study assesses the dissociability of phonological and lexical-semantic short-term memory (STM) in two aphasic patients, B.N. and T.M., and explores the relationship between their STM deficits and their word production impairment. Picture naming performance suggests phonological language production impairment in B.N. and lexical-semantic language production impairment in T.M. On STM tasks, B.N. presented phonological STM impairment with preserved lexical-semantic STM, while T.M. presented the reverse profile. These results reveal a double dissociation between phonological and lexical-semantic STM capacities and suggest that our patients' STM impairment may be selectively related to their language production deficits [less ▲]

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See detailThe impact of aging and hearing status on verbal short-term memory
Verhaegen, Clémence ULg; Collette, Fabienne ULg; Majerus, Steve ULg

in Aging, Neuropsychology and Cognition (2013)

The aim of this study is to assess the impact of hearing status on age-related decrease in verbal short-term memory (STM) performance. This was done by administering a battery of verbal STM tasks to ... [more ▼]

The aim of this study is to assess the impact of hearing status on age-related decrease in verbal short-term memory (STM) performance. This was done by administering a battery of verbal STM tasks to elderly and young adult participants matched for hearing thresholds, as well as to young normal-hearing control participants. The matching procedure allowed us to assess the importance of hearing loss as an explanatory factor of age-related STM decline. We observed that elderly participants and hearing-matched young participants showed equal levels of performance in all verbal STM tasks, and performed overall lower than the normal hearing young control participants. This study provides evidence for recent theoretical accounts considering reduced hearing level as an important explanatory factor of poor auditory-verbal STM performance in older adults. [less ▲]

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See detailChanges in naming and semantic abilities with aging from 50 to 90 years
Verhaegen, Clémence ULg; Poncelet, Martine ULg

in Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society (2013)

The aim of this study was to determine whether naming difficulties arise in individuals as young as their 50s. Participants of 25-35, 50-59, 60-69 and above 70 years of age were given a picture naming ... [more ▼]

The aim of this study was to determine whether naming difficulties arise in individuals as young as their 50s. Participants of 25-35, 50-59, 60-69 and above 70 years of age were given a picture naming task. To uncover subtle naming difficulties, latencies were analyzed in addition to accuracy. In order to control whether the expected slower naming latencies could be due to a general slowing affecting all cognitive tasks, participants were also given an odd/even judgment task to assess cognitive processing speed. The results confirmed that participants in their 50s presented decline in naming performance, reflected by an increase in naming latencies, whereas adults in their 60s and their 70s showed both a decrease in accuracy and an increase in latency. Moreover, the increase in naming latencies remained significant even after controlling for odd/even judgment latencies, suggesting a degradation specific to the picture naming task. We assumed that these slower latencies may result from a language-specific impairment. As a further test for language-specific degradation, participants’ semantic capacities were also assessed with a synonym judgment task and the Pyramids and Palm Trees test. The above-70 group showed semantic degradation. The contributions of multiple factors to naming difficulties in aging are discussed. [less ▲]

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See detailThe relationships between anomia and short-term memory deficits
Verhaegen, Clémence ULg; Poncelet, Martine ULg

Poster (2012, October)

Anomia is the most common symptom of language dysfunction occurring in aphasia. Moreover, verbal short-term memory (STM) impairments are a frequent characteristic of aphasic syndromes. However, the nature ... [more ▼]

Anomia is the most common symptom of language dysfunction occurring in aphasia. Moreover, verbal short-term memory (STM) impairments are a frequent characteristic of aphasic syndromes. However, the nature of these deficits and their relationships to language production impairments in these patients are still debated. Recent STM models have been proposed incorporating relationships between language representations and STM, including distinct capacities for temporary storage of phonological and lexical-semantic information (N. Martin & Saffran, 1992; R. Martin, Lesch, & Bartha, 1999). This study explores the relationships between anomia and STM deficits. We assume that a naming impairment may be related to either a phonological STM impairment with preserved lexical-semantic STM or to an impaired lexical-semantic STM with preserved phonological STM. We tested these predictions in two aphasic patients, BN and TM. Phonological STM was assessed using a rhyme-probe task (R. Martin et al., 1999) and a lexical-decision task, each target word being preceded by a phonologically related prime word. Lexical-semantic STM was assessed by a category-probe task and a lexical-decision task with semantically related primes. BN was impaired on the rhyme-probe task and presented a reversed phonological priming effect, suggesting phonological STM impairment. However, she presented normal performance on the category-probe task and a normal semantic priming effect. By contrast, TM performed normally on the rhyme-probe and phonological lexical-decision tasks but was impaired on the category-probe task and presented no semantic priming effect, indicating lexical-semantic STM impairment. Moreover, both patients’ word retrieval capacity, as assessed with a picture naming task, was impaired. BN produced phonological paraphasias, repetitive self-corrections and presented an increased length effect. We assume that BN’s errors and effects may be related to her phonological STM deficit. TM instead produced semantic paraphasias, omissions and circumlocutions and presented an increased frequency effect. These errors and effects may be related to his lexical-semantic STM deficit. Results show a double dissociation between phonological and lexical-semantic STM deficits. Furthermore, the patients’ naming patterns seem to indicate that their naming impairment may be related to a selective STM deficit. The results are discussed within the STM framework of N. Martin and Saffran (1992). Martin, N., & Saffran, E. (1992). A computational account of deep dysphasia: evidence from a single case study. Brain and Language, 43(1), 240-274. Martin, R. C., Lesch, M. F., & Bartha, M. C. (1999). Independence of input and output phonology in word processing and short-term memory. Journal of Memory and Language, 41(1), 3-29. [less ▲]

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See detailChange in naming abilities between the ages of 50 and 90: The importance of analyzing naming latency
Verhaegen, Clémence ULg; Poncelet, Martine ULg

in Stem-, spraak- en taalpathologie (2012, September), 17(2), 126-128

This study tests the controversial hypothesis that word naming difficulties may arise in individuals as young as their 50s. Participants of 25-35, 50-59, 60-69 and above 70 years of age were given a ... [more ▼]

This study tests the controversial hypothesis that word naming difficulties may arise in individuals as young as their 50s. Participants of 25-35, 50-59, 60-69 and above 70 years of age were given a picture naming task. To uncover subtle naming difficulties, correct naming latencies were analyzed, in addition to accuracy. Moreover, in order to control whether the expected slower naming latencies could be due to a general slowing affecting all cognitive tasks, participants were also given an odd/even judgment task to assess cognitive processing speed. In participants in their 50s, we found subtle naming difficulties revealed by longer naming latencies, unaccompanied by any decrease in naming accuracy. The age-related naming disadvantage increased with age with the onset of naming errors. Thus, in adults in their 60s and their 70s, the results showed both a decrease in accuracy and an increase in correct naming latencies. Moreover, the increase in naming latencies remained significant even after controlling for odd/even judgment latencies, suggesting a degradation specific to the picture naming task. We assumed that these slower latencies may result from a language-specific impairment. [less ▲]

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See detailChange in naming abilities between the ages of 50 and 90: The importance of analyzing naming latency
Verhaegen, Clémence ULg; Poncelet, Martine ULg

Poster (2012, September)

Introduction This study tests the controversial hypothesis that word naming difficulties may arise in individuals as young as their 50s. According to Feyereisen (1997), these difficulties begin at the age ... [more ▼]

Introduction This study tests the controversial hypothesis that word naming difficulties may arise in individuals as young as their 50s. According to Feyereisen (1997), these difficulties begin at the age of 70, but Nicholas, Connor, Obler, and Albert (1998); Connor, Spiro, Obler, and Albert (2004) observed subtle signs of decreased naming performance in participants in their 50s. However, these studies focused on naming accuracy. To our knowledge, no study has analyzed naming latencies in participants in their 50s in comparison with younger participants. We assume that such analyses may highlight more subtle difficulties in naming. In our study, both naming latencies and naming accuracy were analyzed in a picture naming task presented to 4 age groups: 25-35, 50-59, 60-69 and above 70 years old. If people in their 50s experience subtle naming difficulties, these should be reflected in longer picture naming latencies compared to younger participants. In participants above 70 years of age, the decline should be more apparent and may be underlined not only by slower naming latencies but also by lower picture naming scores. The explanation for naming difficulties in aging is also a matter of debate. According to some authors (e.g., Salthouse, 1996), these difficulties are a consequence of a general slowing in all cognitive tasks, including language, in the elderly. However, other theories suggest that the relevant difficulties are more language-specific and are due to connection weaknesses across the entire language system, leading to more naming errors and longer naming latencies (e.g., Burke, MacKay, Worthley, & Wade, 1991). In order to determine the extent to which the slowing of naming latencies in the elderly is related to a slowing of cognitive processing, participants’ cognitive processing speed was assessed with an odd/even judgment task. We were also interested in seeing whether slowing on the odd/even judgment task arises at the same age than slowing on the picture naming task. Methods Participants Four groups of 30 participants took part in the present study: (1) between 25 and 35 years of age, (2) between 50 and 59 years of age, (3) between 60 and 69 years of age and (4) above 70 years of age (70+). All subjects were native French speakers and reported no history of neurological, cardiac, neuropsychological or psychiatric disorders, and no uncorrected hearing or visual problems. Dementia was excluded with the Mattis Dementia Rating Scale (Schmidt, Freidl, Fasekas, Reinhart, & Grieshofer, 1994). No differences between groups were found for vocabulary level (Mill Hill test; Deltour, 1993) or socio-economic background. Materials Participants performed a picture naming task (150 black and white drawings selected from the set of Bonin, Peereman, Maladier, Méot, and Chalard, 2003). Both the number of correct responses and naming latencies were analyzed. We also analyzed response latencies on an odd/even judgment task on 50 digits from 1 to 9, to assess cognitive processing speed. Results For the picture naming task, an analysis of variance (ANOVA) performed on the number of correctly named items revealed an effect of age, F(3,116)=35.36, p<.001. Tukey post hoc comparisons (p<.05) indicated that the 70+ age group named fewer items correctly than the 60-69 age group, which performed worse than the 25-35 and 50-59 age groups, which in turn did not differ from each other. However, the ANOVA performed on correct naming latencies did not show the same pattern of results. This analysis revealed an effect of age, F(3,116)=35.36, p<.001. Tukey post hoc comparisons (p<.05) indicated that the 25-35 age group responded faster than the 50-59 and 60-69 age groups, which did not differ from each other. The 70+ age group responded more slowly than the 3 younger groups. For the odd/even judgment task, the ANOVA performed on response latencies indicated an effect of age, F(3,116)= 96.40, p<.001. Tukey post hoc comparisons (p<.05) showed that the 25-35 and 50-59 age groups did not differ from each other and responded faster than the 60-69 and 70+ age groups, which in turn did not differ from each other. An analysis of covariance was also performed on naming latencies, using the latencies on the odd/even judgment task as covariate. There was a significant effect of age, F(4,115)=54.56, p<.001. Tukey post hoc analysis indicated that the 25-35 age group responded faster than the 50-59 and 60-69 age groups, which did not differ from each other. The 70+ age group performed more slowly than the 3 younger groups. Thus, a slowing of picture naming latencies was found in participants above 50 years of age. This slowing remained significant even when cognitive processing speed was controlled for. Discussion The increase in correct naming latencies on the picture naming task in participants in their 50s suggests the presence of subtle age-related word finding difficulties. In participants in their 60s, naming difficulties were highlighted by both a decrease in correct responses and an increase in naming latencies. Finally, in participants above 70 years of age, these difficulties became more pronounced in both naming accuracy and naming latencies. Slowing on the picture naming task appears to be greater and to arise earlier in the adult lifespan (in participants in their 50s) than slowing on the odd-even judgment task assessing processing speed (in participants in their 60s). Moreover, this slowing of picture naming latencies in participants in their 50s remained significant even when processing speed was controlled for with an analysis of covariance. In conclusion, these results support the importance of naming latency analyses in uncovering subtle naming difficulties. Furthermore, although we do not exclude a possible impact of general slowing on naming latencies in participants above 50 years of age, these findings suggest that the slowing in naming at this age observed here may be explained by a specific age-related slowing within the language system. References Bonin, P., Peereman, R., Maladier, N., Méot, A., & Chalard, M. (2003). A new set of 299 pictures for psycholinguistic studies: French norms for name agreement, image agreement, conceptual familiarity, visual complexity, image variability, age of acquisition, and naming latencies. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 35(1), 158-167. Burke, D. M., MacKay, D. G., Worthley, J. S., & Wade, E. (1991). On the tip of the tongue: what causes word finding failures in young and older adults? Journal of Memory and Language, 30(1), 542-579. Connor, L.T., Spiro, A., Obler, L. K., & Albert, M. L. (2004). Change in object naming ability during adulthood. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, 59(5), 203-209. Deltour, J. J. (1993). Echelle de vocabulaire Mill Hill de J.C. Raven. Braine-le-Chateau, Belgium: Editions l’Application des Techniques Modernes. Feyereisen, P. (1997). A meta-analytic procedure shows an age-related decline in picture naming: Comments on Goulet, Ska et Kahn (1994). Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 40(1), 1328-1333. Nicholas, M., Connor, L.T., Obler, L. K., & Albert, M. L. (1998). Aging, Language, and Language Disorders. In M. Taylor Sarno (Ed.), Acquired Aphasia (pp. 413-449). San Diego, CA: Academic Press. Salthouse, T. A. (1996). The processing-speed theory of adult age differences in cognition. Psychological Review, 103(3), 403-428. Schmidt, R., Freidl, W., Fasekas, F., Reinhart, B., & Grieshofer, P. (1994). Mattis Dementia Rating Scale. [less ▲]

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See detailThe effects of aging on verbal short-term memory and word production capacities
Verhaegen, Clémence ULg; Poncelet, Martine ULg

Poster (2012, June)

The effects of aging on verbal short-term memory (STM) are still a matter of debate (e.g., Nilsson et al., 2003). Recent models of STM distinguish processes involved in the retention of item information ... [more ▼]

The effects of aging on verbal short-term memory (STM) are still a matter of debate (e.g., Nilsson et al., 2003). Recent models of STM distinguish processes involved in the retention of item information (i.e., the identity of words) and order information (i.e., the order of presentation of items) (see Majerus, 2008, for a review). Finally, these models also incorporate relationships between STM and word production capacities, which are often impaired in aging (Burke et al., 1991). The aims of this study are (1) to explore the effects of aging on both item and order STM capacities, (2) to explore the effects of aging on naming capacities and (3) to explore the relationships between STM and naming in aging. Three groups of participants participated in the present study: (1) 56-64 years old (N=26) – (2) 65-74 years old (N=23) – (3) 75-84 years old (N=22). The participants' hearing thresholds were analyzed with a pure tone audiometer. The participants were asked to perform STM tasks and a picture naming task. The results confirm the presence of naming difficulties in participants above 65 years of age, as previously shown by Verhaegen and Poncelet (in press). By contrast, in STM, the differences become non significant when the hearing status is controlled for. However, the items are presented auditorily in all STM tasks. Therefore, in order to confirm the absence of age-related differences in STM, it would be of interest to assess the participants with visual STM tasks. [less ▲]

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See detailThe impact of aging and hearing status on verbal short-term memory
Verhaegen, Clémence ULg; Collette, Fabienne ULg; Majerus, Steve ULg

Conference (2012, May)

We determined the impact of hearing status on age-related effects on verbal short-term memory (STM). Rabbit (1991) observed that elderly participants with hearing loss show impaired STM; he suggested that ... [more ▼]

We determined the impact of hearing status on age-related effects on verbal short-term memory (STM). Rabbit (1991) observed that elderly participants with hearing loss show impaired STM; he suggested that in the case of hearing loss, attentional resources had to be recruited to a larger extent to stimulus perception, reducing the available pool of attentional resources for STM processing. We tested this hypothesis by distinguishing the impact of aging from the impact of hearing status on STM. This was done by administering different verbal STM tasks to elderly and young adult participants matched for hearing threshold, as well as normal-hearing control participants. We observed that elderly participants and hearing-matched young participants showed equal levels of performance in all verbal STM tasks, and performed overall more poorly than the normal-hearing young control participants. These results suggest that mild hearing impairment is a major explanatory factor of reduced STM performance, and importantly, is age-independent. The results are discussed within an interactive framework of STM and attentional processing (Majerus et al., 2009). [less ▲]

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See detailExploration des relations entre les capacités sémantiques et le manque du mot chez la personne âgée saine
Verhaegen, Clémence ULg; Poncelet, Martine ULg; Kaivers, Vinciane

Poster (2010, September)

Le manque du mot (ou anomie) est une plainte langagière fréquente chez le sujet âgé. Les facteurs cognitifs qui y contribuent et l’âge auquel il apparaît sont cependant controversés (Mortensen et al ... [more ▼]

Le manque du mot (ou anomie) est une plainte langagière fréquente chez le sujet âgé. Les facteurs cognitifs qui y contribuent et l’âge auquel il apparaît sont cependant controversés (Mortensen et al., 2006). Selon Barresi et al. (2000), l’anomie serait liée à une dégradation des représentations sémantiques chez les personnes de plus de 70 ans, les erreurs de dénomination d’images commises par celles-ci étant consistantes contrairement à celles observées chez les personnes de 50-60 ans. Le but de cette étude est de déterminer l’âge d’apparition de l’anomie et d’examiner plus directement les liens entre celle-ci et les capacités sémantiques chez la personne plus âgée. Nous avons évalué les capacités de dénomination d’images d’objets (issues de Bonin et al., 2003) ainsi que de jugement de synonymie et d’association sémantique d’images de trois groupes (N=19-18-19) de personnes saines (score>137 à l’échelle de Mattis), âgés respectivement de 25-35 ans, 50-60 ans et plus de 70 ans. Des ANOVA sur les réponses correctes et les temps de réponse en dénomination d’images révèlent un effet de groupe (respectivement, F(2,53)=21.76, p<.001 et F(2,53)=53.29, p<.001). Les personnes de plus de 70 ans sont plus lentes et commettent plus d’erreurs que les personnes de 50-60 ans et de 25-35 ans qui ne diffèrent pas entre elles. Un effet de groupe apparaît également dans les tâches de jugement de synonymie (F(2,53)=24.71, p<.001) et d’association sémantique (F(2,53)=15.40, p<.01). Les personnes de plus de 70 ans présentent des performances à ces tâches inférieures à celles des deux autres groupes d’âge, égaux entre eux. Cette étude montre que les capacités de dénomination sont altérées chez les personnes de plus de 70 ans mais pas de 50-60 ans et appuie la conception selon laquelle cette altération pourrait être liée à une dégradation des représentations sémantiques chez les personnes plus âgées. [less ▲]

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See detailThe links between dyslexia and inhibition deficits: do dyslexic children with an inhibition deficit have a specific reading profile?
Verhaegen, Clémence ULg; Schelstraete, Marie-Anne; Noël, Marie-Pascale

Poster (2010, May 28)

The present study focused on the nature of the reading disability of children with both dyslexia and inhibition deficit. Van der Schoot et al. (2000; 2004); Nossent et al. (2005); Nossent and Deroux (2006 ... [more ▼]

The present study focused on the nature of the reading disability of children with both dyslexia and inhibition deficit. Van der Schoot et al. (2000; 2004); Nossent et al. (2005); Nossent and Deroux (2006) showed that these children tended more to guess the words they read because these “guessers” found difficulties in suppressing false candidate words that are activated in the lexicon. To test this account, dyslexic children with and without inhibition deficit were presented a sentence reading task. To evoke guessing, each sentence contained a word or a pseudoword which closely resembled either a valid congruent or incongruent word. Our hypothesis was that dyslexic children with inhibition deficit guessed more the word they read from the sentence context and the global word form than dyslexic children without inhibition deficit. The results showed that both dyslexics with and without inhibition deficit tended more to guess the words than control children without dyslexia and inhibition difficulties. We discussed these results with the fact that most of children with reading difficulties use the sentence context to compensate for poor reading skills. [less ▲]

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