Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Verbal Fluency

  • Lyn S. TurkstraEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_1423


Category fluency; CFL test; COWA; COWAT; F-A-S test; Letter fluency; Phonemic fluency; Semantic fluency; Word fluency


Verbal fluency is a cognitive function that facilitates information retrieval from memory. Successful retrieval requires executive control over cognitive processes such as selective attention, selective inhibition, mental set shifting, internal response generation, and self-monitoring. Tests of verbal fluency evaluate an individual’s ability to retrieve specific information within restricted search parameters (Lezak et al. 2012). The two most common parameters are (1) semantic fluency, tested by asking the examinee to generate semantic category exemplars (most commonly names of animals), and (2) phonemic fluency, assessed by asking the examinee to generate words beginning with a single letter, most commonly F, A, and S.

Historical Background

Verbal fluency has been studied in healthy and clinical populations since at least the 1940s (e.g., Bousefield...

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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Rehabilitation ScienceMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada