Center for Research in Language CRL Newsletter
May, 2001
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I n f o r m a t i o n

May 2001: Vol. 13, No. 2

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A Study of Age-of-acquisition (AoA) Ratings in Adults

Gowri K. Iyer*^
Cristina M. Saccuman*^
Elizabeth A. Bates*^
Beverly B.Wulfeck*#^

^Language & Communicative Disorders, San Diego State Univ. & UC-San Diego
*Center for Research in Language, Dept. of Cognitive Science, UC-San Diego.
#Dept. of Communicative Disorders, San Diego State Univ.

A b s t r a c t

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-of-acquisition 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.

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