Temporal Analysis of the Semantic Verbal Fluency Task in Persons with Subjective and Mild Cognitive Impairment

Linz, N., Fors, K. L., Lindsay, H., Eckerström, M., Alexandersson, J., & Kokkinakis, D. (2019, June). Temporal Analysis of the Semantic Verbal Fluency Task in Persons with Subjective and Mild Cognitive Impairment. In Proceedings of the Sixth Workshop on Computational Linguistics and Clinical Psychology (pp. 103-113).

Temporal Analysis of the Semantic Verbal Fluency Task in Persons with Subjective and Mild Cognitive Impairment

Abstract

The Semantic Verbal Fluency (SVF) task is a classical neuropsychological assessment where persons are asked to produce words belonging to a semantic category (e.g., animals) in a given time. This paper introduces a novel method of temporal analysis for SVF tasks utilizing time intervals and applies it to a corpus of elderly Swedish subjects (mild cognitive impairment, subjective cognitive impairment and healthy controls). A general decline in word count and lexical frequency over the course of the task is revealed, as well as an increase in word transition times. Persons with subjective cognitive impairment had a higher word count during the last intervals, but produced words of the same lexical frequencies. Persons with MCI had a steeper decline in both word count and lexical frequencies during the third interval. Additional correlations with neuropsychological scores suggest these findings are linked to a person’s overall vocabulary size and processing speed, respectively. Classification results improved when adding the novel features (AUC = 0.72), supporting their diagnostic value.