January 19, 2021

Multiple Temporal and Semantic Processes During Verbal Fluency Tasks in English-Russian Bilinguals

Category fluency test (CFT) performance is sensitive to cognitive processes of executive control and memory storage and access, and widely used to measure cognitive performance especially in early Alzheimers Disease. Analytical variables have included the number of items named, and various methods to identify and quantify clusters of semantically related words and cluster switches. Also encoded in the response sequence are temporal patterns as shown by "bursts" of responses and pauses between items, that have not been received attention in determining cluster characteristics. We studied a group of 51 adult Russian-English bilinguals and compared CFT responses based on two clustering methodologies: the semantic-based method (SEM) and a novel method based on the time interval between words (TEMP) with 8 different intercall time thresholds from 0.25 sec-15 sec. Each participant performed the task in both languages. Total number of words and cluster count was greater in Russian than English for both scoring methods, but cluster size did not differ between languages. We also studied stochastic modeling characteristics based on detrending of the "exponential exhaustion" effect seen with CFT, with most notable that total recall capacity (N{yen}) was greater in Russian than English (P<.05). Multiple demographic variables, and recent and lifetime usage of each language, affected both cognitive performance as measured by the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MOCA; given in English only). Differential performance is driven by differences in demographics, more words stored in memory, and semantic and timing recall strategies.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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