Demographic factors and retrieval of object and proper names after age 70

PLoS One. 2018 Jan 25;13(1):e0191876. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0191876. eCollection 2018.


Purpose: This research aimed to investigate whether demographic factors are similarly related to retrieval of object and proper names.

Methods: The sample included 5,907 individuals above age 70 who participated in the Health and Retirement Study between 2004 and 2012. Participants were asked to name two objects as well as the US President and Vice President. Latent growth curve models examined the associations of age, education, and self-rated health with baseline levels and change trajectories in retrieval.

Results: Age and education were more strongly related to retrieval of proper names than to retrieval of object names, both for baseline scores and for change trajectory. Similar effects of self-rated health emerged for both types of stimuli.

Conclusions: The results show that examining object names and proper names together as indication of cognitive status in the HRS might overlook important differences between the two types of stimuli, in both baseline performance and longitudinal change.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Cognitive Aging / psychology*
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mental Recall*
  • Middle Aged
  • Names
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data

Grants and funding

The authors received no specific funding for this work.