Semantic verbal fluency in native speakers of Turkish: A systematic review of category use, scoring metrics and normative data in healthy individuals

Rabia Yasa Kostas*, Kahraman Kostas, Sarah E MacPherson, Maria K Wolters

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Introduction: Semantic verbal fluency (SVF) is a widely used measure of frontal executive function and access to semantic memory. SVF scoring metrics include the number of unique words generated, perseverations, intrusions, semantic cluster size and switching between clusters, and scores vary depending on the language the test is administered in. In this paper, we review the existing normative data for Turkish, the main metrics used for scoring SVF data in Turkish, and the most frequently used categories.

Method: We conducted a systematic review of peer-reviewed papers using Medline, EMBASE, PsycInfo, Web of Science, and two Turkish databases, TR-Dizin and Yok-Tez. Included papers contained data on the SVF performance of healthy adult native speakers of Turkish, and reported the categories used. Versions of the SVF that required participants to alternate categories were excluded. We extracted and tabulated demographics, descriptions of groups, metrics used, categories used, and sources of normative data. Studies were assessed for level of detail in reporting findings.

Results: 1400 studies were retrieved. After deduplication, abstract, full text screening, and merging of theses with their published versions, 121 studies were included. 114 studies used the semantic category “animal”, followed by first names (N=14, 12%). All studies reported word count. More complex measures were rare (perseverations: N=12, 10%, clustering and switching: N=5, 4%). Four of seven normative studies reported only word count, two also measured perseverations, and one reported category violation and perseverations. Two normative studies were published in English.

Conclusions: There is a lack of normative Turkish SVF data with more complex metrics, such as clustering and switching, and a lack of normative data published in English. Given the size of the Turkish diaspora, normative SVF data should include monolingual and bilingual speakers. Limitations include a restriction to key English and Turkish databases.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 14 Mar 2024

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • semantic verbal fluency
  • clustering
  • switching
  • Turkish
  • semantic categories


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