Effect of aging on learning new names and descriptions for objects

Emma Whiting*, Helen J. Chenery, David A. Copland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The present study consisted of two experiments to compare new word learning in healthy young (N = 11) and older (N = 17) adults within an explicit learning paradigm. Experiment 1 investigated the new name learning for familiar objects, while Experiment 2 investigated learning names and descriptions for unfamiliar objects. Participants attended five learning sessions over 5 consecutive days, during which they viewed objects with novel names with/without descriptions. The older adults were as accurate as the young adults when recalling and recognizing new names during the learning sessions. With respect to response times, the older adults were as rapid as the young adults at recognizing the new names for the familiar objects, but were slower during the follow-up sessions. The older adults were also slower when recognizing new names for unfamiliar objects. When recognizing unfamiliar object descriptions, the older adults were significantly less accurate than the young adults. These results may have implications for the treatment of acquired naming difficulties and second language learning in older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)594-619
Number of pages26
JournalAging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011
Externally publishedYes


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