Novel associative processing and aging: effect on creative production

Academic Article


  • © 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Creative production has been reported to decline with age. This study investigated age-related differences in creative verbal production. Participants were 30 younger and 30 older adults. Study testing included language and cognitive assessments and the experimental task wherein participants created short stories incorporating words that are not commonly related, semantically or associatively. The resulting stories were rated by independent blinded judges for originality, cohesion, appropriateness, and organization. Younger adults' stories were rated as being significantly more original and more appropriate. Integrating unrelated words to create original stories requires activating widely distributed lexical-semantic networks to develop novel associations. Potential decreased neural network connectivity due to white matter degradation, commonly seen in normal aging, as well as decrements in front-executive disengagement may have affected older adults' performance on this story creation task. Future research using neuroimaging may elucidate possible neuroanatomic correlates of age-related changes in associative creative production.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Leon SA; Altmann LJP; Abrams L; Gonzalez Rothi LJ; Heilman KM
  • Start Page

  • 807
  • End Page

  • 822
  • Volume

  • 26
  • Issue

  • 6