Vol. 13, No. 2
A Study of Age-of-acquisition (AoA) Ratings in Adults
Language and Communicative Disorders, San Diego State University & Center for Research in Language, UCSD
Certain word attributes such as frequency have been traditionally thought to be the best predictors of performance on a lexical task (e.g., picture naming). However, mounting evidence suggests that in certain lexical tasks, frequency effects maybe wholly or partly explained by age-of-acquisition (AoA). This paper reports the results of an age-ofacquisition study in which adults’ ratings and response times were collected for 520 items (nouns). The resulting AoA ratings were (1) reliable, replicating the AoA effects reported in earlier studies, (2) valid, correlating highly with developmental data, and (3) the most powerful predictors of performance on a picture-naming task when compared to other predictor variables such as frequency and familiarity. Discussion focuses on alternative explanations of AoA effects, and some future goals.