Event Abstract

Proper Name, Logo Name and Common Noun Retrieval: The Role of Cognitive Reserve

  • 1 Human Inspired Technology Research Centre (HIT), Italy
  • 2 Dipartimento di Psicologia Generale, Università degli Studi di Padova, Italy
  • 3 Institut Universitaire De Gériatrie De Montréal, Canada

Factors influencing a person’s Cognitive Reserve (CR) include education and life-experience, and may predict language proficiency in vocabulary size, verbal analogy skills, and semantic processing (for a review, see Anstey & Christensen, 2000). Symptoms of cognitive decline can be difficult to detect when CR is high. However, some cognitive tasks might help to overcome this problem. One of the first symptoms of dementia is proper name anomia (Semenza, Mondini, Borgo, Pasini, & Sgaramella, 2003). Our hypothesis is that CR plays only a mild protective role in proper name retrieval (as compared to other types of nouns), due to the poor semantic connection between proper names and their bearers. We investigated proper name, logo name and common noun retrieval, using CR as the main factor of interest. Forty-six Italian native speakers, from 65-96 years old (mean 81.09 ± 7.73), with 3-21 years of education (mean 8.89 ± 4.61) were enrolled. The participants’ cognitive profiles were assessed with the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) and their raw scores ranged from 14-27 out of 30 (mean 20.63 ± 4.01). MoCA scores were adjusted for age and education prior to analysis (see Conti, Bonazzi, Laiacona, Masina, & Coralli, 2015). CR was measured with the Cognitive Reserve Index (CRI) questionnaire (Nucci, Mapelli, & Mondini, 2012). Participants were administered a picture naming task. Latencies and accuracies were recorded and Generalized Linear Mixed-Effect Models analyses were performed. CRI globally predicted both latency (χ2 (1) = 10.3, p < 0.01) and accuracy name retrieval (χ2 (1) = 8.75, p < 0.01), with better performance when CR was high. Latency was predicted by CRI and MoCA entered as interaction terms (t = 7, p < 0.001). Accuracy was predicted by CRI and MoCA entered as additional terms (z = 3.19, p < 0.01), showing stronger effects of CR when global cognitive profiles were in the low range. Considering proper names, logo names and common nouns, no significant interaction between CRI and name category was found on latency (t = 0.76, p < 0.44). Accuracy, by contrast, was predicted by CRI and category as interaction terms, with a weaker effect of CRI for proper names as compared to common nouns (z = 2.69, p < 0.01) and logo names (z = 3.24, p < 0.01), while the relationship between CRI and naming accuracy did not differ when comparing logo names and common nouns (z = 0.81, p = 0.41); Fig. 1. Higher CR improved name retrieval for accuracy and latency, with a stronger effect in persons with low-range cognitive profiles. Accuracy was more influenced by CR in the case of common nouns and logo names as compared to proper names. Logo names are also arbitrarily assigned to entities but can be categorized conceptually due to their environmental pervasiveness, whereas proper names are pure referential expressions for unique entities. This could partially explain the weaker relationship between proper names and CR, making proper name retrieval tasks useful for detecting early signs of cognitive decline when CR is high.

Figure 1


Acknowledgment to Luca Semenzato for his technical support in this project.


Anstey, K., & Christensen, H. (2000). Education, activity, health, blood pressure and apolipoprotein E as predictors of cognitive change in old age: a review. Gerontology, 46(3), 163-177.
Conti, S., Bonazzi, S., Laiacona, M., Masina, M., & Coralli, M. V. (2015). Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA)-Italian version: regression based norms and equivalent scores. Neurological Sciences, 36(2), 209-214.
Semenza, C., Mondini, S., Borgo, F., Pasini, M., & Sgaramella, M. T. (2003). Proper names in patients with early Alzheimer’s disease. Neurocase, 9(1), 63-69.
Nucci, M., Mapelli, D., & Mondini, S. (2012). Cognitive Reserve Index questionnaire (CRIq): a new instrument for measuring cognitive reserve. Aging clinical and experimental research, 24(3), 218-226.

Keywords: Cognitive Reserve, Aging, Name retrieval, cognitive decline, Proper names

Conference: Academy of Aphasia 56th Annual Meeting, Montreal, Canada, 21 Oct - 23 Oct, 2018.

Presentation Type: oral presentation

Topic: not eligible for a student prize

Citation: Montemurro S, Crovace C, Jarema G and Mondini S (2019). Proper Name, Logo Name and Common Noun Retrieval: The Role of Cognitive Reserve. Conference Abstract: Academy of Aphasia 56th Annual Meeting. doi: 10.3389/conf.fnhum.2018.228.00009

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Received: 20 Apr 2018; Published Online: 22 Jan 2019.

* Correspondence: Ms. Sonia Montemurro, Human Inspired Technology Research Centre (HIT), Padova, Italy, sn.montemurro@gmail.com