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Psychology Lab Report

Age and Oral Word Fluency


University Name

Total word count: 2100 not including Lit review already completed leaves 1500 words









Assessment Criteria: (see also assessment grading)

  • An abstract that summarises the topic, main findings and conclusions.
  • Integration of the literature review within the body of the report, including hypotheses.
  • Clear description of method.
  • Reporting of the results of t-tests, including tables and figure where appropriate.
  • An attempt to interpret the results according to previous research and any limitations of experimental design.
  • APA formatting


Satisfactory Completion Requires:

  • 2100 – 2300 words. (Does not include abstract, reference list, or table.) DO NOT exceed word limit.
  • Inclusion of least 6 relevant references (peer reviewed journal articles). The same ones from the literature review is acceptable.
  • Accurate reporting of the results of the t-tests, including tables and figure where appropriate.
  • An attempt to interpret the results according to previous research and any limitations of experimental design.
  • Clear writing style – grammar, spelling and punctuation.











Instruction for section: 150 – 250 words summarising purpose of the study, the aim of the study, the directional hypotheses of the study, the number of participants, measurements used and type of analysis that was run, key results and the importance of these findings
















Psychology Lab Report

Age and Oral Word Fluency

 (Literature review contains 600 words)

Participants are asked to generate words orally in oral word fluency, which match a semantic category (for example, fruits, animals) or a phonemic category (for example, an alphabetical letter). In most cases, a time limit of 60 seconds is imposed. Typically, verbal fluency tasks (VFT) are incorporated in neuropsychological batteries to evaluate cognitive impairment after illnesses impacting the central nervous system and/or brain damage (Capitani et al., 2009). In this report, the connection between age and oral world fluency are tested. 

The impacts cognition and brain and aging are broad with many aetiologies. Aging affects the cognition, gross morphology, vasculature, cells, and molecules (Zimmermann et al., 2014). The frontal cortex of the brain reduces in volume as people age. The chance of getting ischemia and stroke is increased as blood pressure increases and vasculature ages thereby making the white matter to develop lesions. With aging, memory decline making the activation of the brain to be further bilateral for tasks in the memory (Zimmermann et al., 2014). Generally, increasing age decreases semantic fluency. A wide range of literature has underpinned this argument indicating that in comparison with younger participants, the elderly persons show poor performance on semantic VFT (Rodríguez-Aranda & Martinussen, 2006). Therefore, this research area is well-established and it is treated to be normal. However, performance changes in phonemic verbal frequency related to age have not been easy to conclude (Barbosa et al., 2017).

Since its development as a way to determine neurocognitive ability, the Controlled Oral Word Association (COWAT) has continuously been utilised in different ways, such as assessment of a person’s capacity to communicate on a day-to-day basis, monitoring of language development delays among the young people, and detection of deficits in verbal communication following brain lesions (Loonstra. Tarlow, & Sellers, 2001). Standardised norms for a number of phonemic fluency test, such as the COWAT, have been studied, on one hand, demonstrating a decline that depends on age. On the other hand, researchers who use the same test from cognitive aging studies have shown conflicting results. Even though certain studies have reported considerable variations in the COWAT performance in different age groups (Rodríguez-Aranda & Martinussen, 2006), numerous others have not detected any differences in age (Tombaugh, Kozak, & Rees, 1999). As a result of this lack of consistencies in findings, it has been impossible to establish the degree to which impacts of usual aging on phonemic verbal fluency performance as the COWAT measures. 

Inconsistencies of results in different studies have recently compelled many researchers to further explore this topic to come up findings that are more conclusive. For example, in their meta-analysis, Rodríguez-Aranda and Martinussen (2006) used 26 articles with over 1000 different samples, where they found age to determine verbal fluency. In another research, Loonstra et al. (2001) identified 32 studies with about 92 independent sample. Similarly, their findings revealed that depending on an individual’s age, variations might exist in verbal fluency. However, others have also used inadequate sample sizes but have found same results. Thus, the inconsistencies in different studies make it necessary to extract normative data and carefully compile them.

A precise determination of the association is critical. More particularly, by studying verbal fluency in a non-clinical population (i.e., people from the public), it would be possible to understand people with clinical diagnoses better (including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, alcoholism, traumatic brain injury). To add to this, professionals from various fields would be interested in this research. Overall, age and oral word fluency represent an important area of research.

The aim of this study, therefore, is to further research on the relationship between age and oral word fluency. This is due to its significance and conflicts which currently exist. We hypothesise that participants in the younger group will have better oral word fluency than participants in the older group.



                  Instructions for this section: In your participants section make sure to add the number of participants involved in your study. You also need to include the gender ratio and age range (M= __ years of age, SD= __). Additionally, identify the sampling method that you used to recruit your participants. Specify any selection criteria, such as only participants between the ages of.


                  Instructions for this section: Outline all materials that were used to conduct your study. (COWAT) This section includes any scales or questionnaires that were used to collect your data including a reference to the developers of the scale. For each scale used clearly indicate what the scale is used to measure. You need to specify the possible range of scores (minimum and maximum) and what these scores mean. If there is a likert type scale used, you need to mention it here. Furthermore, you need to show that the scale you are using is reliable and valid. This is done through running a reliability analysis using SPSS or by finding previous research which has identified realiability and validity coefficient values (such as Chronbach’s alpha which should ideally be .7 or above).


                  Instructions for this section: In this section provided a step by step guide to how your study was conducted in chronological order. Only provide enough information so that your study can be replicated. Summarise instructions given to participants and specify tasks that participants were required to complete. Mention how your data was then entered into SPSS, cleaned, and scored.



For hypotheses 1 and 2, there are questions about reporting the standard deviations for the norms we used. The sds are reported in Loonstra et al, but here they are –

    • 18-39 (younger) m = 43.5, sd = 9.4
    • 60-79 (older) m = 32.3, sd = 12.7



            Instructions for this section: Here you need mention the analysis you conducted with a justification of why you have chosen that analysis. Identify your Independent and Dependant variables. Also include the assumptions of the test you have run and whether these assumptions have been met or violated. If you were required to remove participants from your dataset you need to mention this and justify why you have done so. Once this information has been provided, introduce your table of descriptive statistics.

Presented in Table 1 is an example of how a descriptive statistics table in APA format should look.

Table 1 Example title of APA formatted table.





Younger (18-30)




Older (50+)





As can be seen in Table 1, you will need to include the mean and standard deviation of each group for each of your dependant variables. This paragraph should include a description of the main patterns of mean scores. Do not repeat mean or standard deviation values in your description.

Following the description of your table you will need to provide a summary statement. You need to provide one full summary statement per statistical analysis conducted



            Instructions for this section: To being your discussion you will need to restate your aim. Following this, you will need to summarise the main results of your study. Do not provide any values in your discussion section. You will need to comment on whether or not your results support your hypotheses.

In the second paragraph of your discussion you should discuss hypotheses that were supported. For each finding summarise the similarities and differences between your results and those of the previous literature that you discussed in your introduction/literature review. Explain how your results support previous/established theories.

Go on to discuss findings that do not support your hypotheses. Here, as above, you will need to comment on how your results are similar or different to the previous literature reviewed. You need to provide some explanation as to why your results were not as expected. In order to do this, discuss whether the theory (or theories) you derived your hypotheses from was suitable. Also try to think of theoretical reasons as to why your results may be different to what was expected. These are not simply limitations of your study.

Make sure to state the practical and theoretical importance of your findings. Discuss how the findings of your study relate to the real world and who would benefit from this knowledge.

Next go on to briefly discuss the most relevant limitations of your study. You should not discuss more than two or three limitations. Limitations include anything that you believe may have directly impacted on your results. Suggest directions for future research to overcome these limitations.

Finally, your conclusion should reiterate the aim and findings of your study. End by describing the potential benefits of the knowledge gained as a result of your findings.



Barbosa, A. F., Voos, M. C., Chen, J., Francato, D. C. V., Souza, C. D. O., Barbosa, E. R., … & Mansur, L. L. (2017). Cognitive or Cognitive-Motor Executive Function Tasks? Evaluating Verbal Fluency Measures in People with Parkinson’s Disease. BioMed Research International, 2017.

Capitani, E., Rosci, C., Saetti, M. C., & Laiacona, M. (2009). Mirror asymmetry of category and letter fluency in traumatic brain injury and Alzheimer’s patients. Neuropsychologia, 47(2), 423-429.

Loonstra, A. S., Tarlow, A. R., & Sellers, A. H. (2001). COWAT metanorms across age, education, and gender. Applied neuropsychology, 8(3), 161-166.

Rodríguez-Aranda, C., & Martinussen, M. (2006). Age-related differences in performance of phonemic verbal fluency measured by Controlled Oral Word Association Task (COWAT): a meta-analytic study. Developmental neuropsychology, 30(2), 697-717.

Tombaugh, T. N., Kozak, J., & Rees, L. (1999). Normative data stratified by age and education for two measures of verbal fluency: FAS and animal naming. Archives of clinical neuropsychology, 14(2), 167-177.

Zimmermann, N., Parente, M. A. D. M. P., Joanette, Y., & Fonseca, R. P. (2014). Unconstrained, phonemic and semantic verbal fluency: age and education effects, norms and discrepancies. Psicologia: Reflexão e Crítica, 27(1), 55-63.



Originally posted 2018-05-19 10:47:47.



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