Clustering and Switching Strategies During the Semantic Fluency Task in Men with Frontal Lobe Lesions and in Men with Schizophrenia

Łukasz Okruszek 1 , Aleksandra Rutkowska 2 ,  and Joanna Wilińska 3
  • 1 University of Warsaw
  • 2 University of Łódź
  • 3 Babiński Hospital in Łódź

Differences in semantic clustering and switching were examined in men with frontal lobe lesions, men with schizophrenia and healthy men. Men with frontal lobe lesions and men with schizophrenia generated fewer words than healthy men and presented intact clustering, but decreased switching during the semantic fluency task. However, after controlling for the number of words produced, between-group differences in switching disappeared. These findings suggest that all three groups used similar strategies of clustering and switching during the semantic fluency task, although men with frontal lobe lesions and men with schizophrenia did it less efficiently than healthy men.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Alvarez, J.A. & Emory, E. (2006). Executive function and the frontal lobes: A metaanalytic review. Neuropsychology Review, 16, 17-42.

  • Bozikas, V.P., Kosmidis, M.H., & Karavatos, A. (2005). Disproportionate impairment in semantic verbal fluency in schizophrenia: differential deficit in clustering. Schizophrenia Research, 74, 51-59.

  • Burton, C.Z., Vella, L., Harvey, P.D., Patterson, T.L., Heaton, R.K., & Twamley, E.W. (2013). Factor structure of the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery (MCCB) in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research, 146, 244-248.

  • Davidson, P.S., Gao, F.Q., Mason, W.P., Winocur, G., & Anderson, N.D. (2008). Verbal fluency, trail making, and Wisconsin Card Sorting Test performance following right frontal lobe tumor resection. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 30, 18-32.

  • Elvevag, B., Fisher, J.E., Gurd, J.M., & Goldberg, T.E. (2002). Semantic clustering in verbal fluency: Schizophrenic patients versus control participants. Psychological Medicine, 32, 909-917.

  • Fossati, P., Guillaume, B., Ergis, A.M., & Allilaire, J.F. (2003). Qualitative analysis of verbal fluency in depression. Psychiatry Research, 117, 17-24.

  • Henry, J.D. & Crawford, J.R. (2004). A meta-analytic review of verbal fluency performance following focal cortical lesions. Neuropsychology, 18, 2, 284-295.

  • Hill, K., Mann, L., Laws, K.R., Stephenson, C.M., Nimmo-Smith, I., & McKenna, P.J. (2004). Hypofrontality in schizophrenia: A meta-analysis of functional imaging studies. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 110, 243-256.

  • Hirshorn, E.A. & Thompson-Schill, S.L. (2006). Role of the left inferior frontal gyrus in covert word retrieval: Neural correlates of switching during verbal fluency. Neuropsychologia, 44, 2547-2557.

  • Jodzio, K. (2008). Neuropsychologia intencjonalnego działania. Koncepcje funkcji wykonawczych [Neuropsychology of Intentional Action. Concepts of Performing Functions]. Warszawa: Scholar.

  • Keshavan, M.S., Tandon, R., Boutros, N.N., & Nasrallah, H.A. (2008). Schizophrenia, “just the facts”: What we know in 2008. Part 3: Neurobiology. Schizophrenia Research, 106, 89-107.

  • Mayr, U. (2002). On the dissociation between clustering and switching in verbal fluency: Comment on Troyer, Moscovitch, Winocur, Alexander and Stuss. Neuropsychologia, 40, 562-566.

  • Moore, D.J., Savla, G.N., Woods, S.P., Jeste, D.V., & Palmer, B.W. (2006). Verbal fluency impairments among middle-aged and older outpatients with schizophrenia are characterized by deficient switching. Schizophrenia Research, 87, 254-260.

  • Ojeda, N., Sánchez, P., Pena, J., Elizagárate, E., Yoller, A.B., Larumbe, J., Gutiérrez, M., Casais, L., & Ezcurra, J. (2010). Verbal fluency in schizophrenia: Does cognitive performance reflect the same underlying mechanisms in patients and healthy controls? Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 198, 286-291.

  • Ross, T.P., Calhoun, E., Cox, T. , Wenner, C., Kono, W., & Pleasant, M. (2007). The reliability and validity of qualitative scores for the Controlled Oral Word Association Test. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 22, 475-488.

  • Strauss, E., Sherman, E.M., & Spreen, O. (2006). A Compendium of Neuropsychological Tests: Administration, Norms, and Commentary. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • Troster, A.I., Fields, J.A., Testa, J.A., Paul, R.H., Blanco, C.R., Hames, K.A., Salmon, D.P., & Beatty, W.W. (1998). Cortical and subcortical influences on clustering and switching in the performance of verbal fluency tasks. Neuropsychologia, 36, 295-304.

  • Troyer, A.K., Moscovitch, M., & Winocur, G. (1997). Clustering and switching as two components of verbal fluency: Evidence from younger and older healthy adults. Neuropsychology, 11, 138-146.

  • Troyer, A.K., Moscovitch, M., Winocur, G., Alexander, M.P., & Stuss, D. (1998). Clustering and switching on verbal fluency: The effects of focal frontal- and temporal-lobe lesions. Neuropsychologia, 36, 499-504.

  • Weiss, E.M., Ragland, J.D., Brensinger, C.M., Bilker, W.B., Deisenhammer, E.A., Delazer, M. (2006). Sex differences in clustering and switching in verbal fluency tasks. Journal of International Neuropsychological Society, 12, 502-509.

  • Woods, S.P., Conover, E., Rippeth, J.D., Carey, C.L., Gonzalez, R., Marcotte, T.D., & Heaton, R.K. (2004). Qualitative aspects of verbal fluency in HIV-associated dementia: A deficit in rule-guided lexical-semantic search processes? Neuropsychologia, 42, 801-809.


Journal + Issues