Patterns of performance on the animal fluency task in logopenic variant of primary progressive aphasia: A reflection of phonological and semantic skills

J Commun Disord. 2024 Mar-Apr:108:106405. doi: 10.1016/j.jcomdis.2024.106405. Epub 2024 Jan 21.


Purpose: This study aimed to characterize the quantitative (total number of correct words generated) and qualitative (psycholinguistic properties of correct words generated) performance patterns on the animal fluency task in individuals with the logopenic variant of primary progressive aphasia and to investigate the influence of phonological and semantic abilities to these patterns.

Methods: Fifteen participants with lvPPA and twenty neurotypical adults completed the animal fluency task and an assessment battery to characterize their phonological and semantic abilities. We recorded the total number of correct words produced and their psycholinguistic properties. Group differences were analyzed using independent samples t-tests and analysis of covariance. Stepwise and multiple linear regression analyses were implemented to investigate the contribution of psycholinguistic properties on word generation as well as the role of phonological and semantic abilities on performance. We also investigated the mediating role of phonological and semantic abilities on the relationship between relevant psycholinguistic properties and word generation output.

Results: Compared to neurotypical controls, participants with lvPPA produced fewer correct responses and more words with lower age of acquisition. The total number of correct words generated was predicted by the age of word acquisition, such that individuals who generated more responses, produced words acquired later in life. Phonology and semantics influenced the number of correct words generated and their frequency, age of acquisition, and semantic neighborhood density. Familiarity and arousal were driven by semantic abilities. Phonological abilities partially mediated the relationship between age of acquisition and word generation output.

Conclusions: This study provides valuable insights into the performance patterns of the animal fluency task in lvPPA. Individuals with lvPPA with more intact phonological and semantic abilities generated greater number of words with more complex psycholinguistic properties. Our findings contribute to the understanding of language processes underlying word retrieval in lvPPA.

Keywords: Age of acquisition; Logopenic variant of primary progressive aphasia; Phonology; Psycholinguistic properties; Semantics; Verbal fluency.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Aphasia, Primary Progressive*
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Linguistics
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Semantics*