Correlation between working memory and verbal fluency among the elderly

Document Type : Original Articles


Assistant Professor in Cognitive Neuroscience, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran



Introduction: As one ages, working memory and verbal fluency are among the first declined cognitive functions. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the possible relationship between these two functions in the elderly.Materials and Methods: In a cross-sectional study, 150 elderly residents of Qom Province were selected through randomized cluster sampling. The tests of Phonemic and semantic verbal fluency along with forward and backward digit span tasks were used for the evaluation. Pearson correlation test was employed to investigate the correlation of variables.Results: Findings showed significant correlation between phonemic verbal fluency and forward (P < 0.05, r = 0.286) as well as backward digit span (P < 0.01, r = 0.355). Also, semantic verbal fluency significantly correlated with forward (P < 0.01, r = 0.599) and backward digit span (P < 0.01, r = 0.488).Conclusion: The observed correlation between verbal fluency and working memory could be explained on the basis of their common neuro-anatomical substrates in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Verbal fluency can be considered as a predictor of working memory.Keywords: Working memory, Phonemic and semantic verbal fluency, Elderly

  • Receive Date: 13 December 2011
  • Revise Date: 19 April 2024
  • Accept Date: 22 May 2022