Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society

Noun and verb retrieval in healthy aging

ANNA J.  MACKAY  a1 a2, LISA TABOR  CONNOR  a1 a3, MARTIN L.  ALBERT  a1 c1 and LORAINE K.  OBLER  a1 a4
a1 Boston University School of Medicine and VA Boston Healthcare System, Harold Goodglass Aphasia Research Center, Boston, MA
a2 Psychology Department, Washington University, St. Louis, MO
a3 Department of Radiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO
a4 City University of New York Graduate Center, Program in Speech and Hearing Sciences, New York, NY


This study tests the hypothesis that retrieval of object and action names declines at different rates with age. Uncued and cued performance on the Boston Naming Test (BNT) and the Action Naming Test (ANT) were examined for 171 individuals from 50 to 88 years old. To control for differences in item difficulty, a subset of items from each of the two tests was selected for which uncued performance was equivalent in individuals in their 50s. With this matched set of items, differences in action and object naming were tested in the 60s and 70+ age groups. Although age-related decline in name retrieval was observed for both the BNT and the ANT subsets, no differences between object and action retrieval were found. Our results, thus, do not confirm previous studies reporting that object names and action names are differentially retrieved with aging. We discuss these new findings in relation to evidence of dissociations in object and action naming in brain-damaged individuals. (JINS, 2002, 8, 764–770.)

(Received May 25 2000)
(Revised August 27 2001)
(Accepted September 18 2001)

Key Words: Aging; Lexical retrieval; Grammatical class; Naming.

c1 Reprint requests to: Martin L. Albert, VA Boston Healthcare System (12A), 150 South Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02130. E-mail: