Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

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

Controlled Oral Word Association Test

  • Janet PattersonEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_876


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


The Controlled Oral Word Association Test (COWAT) is a measure of verbal fluency and is a subtest of the Multilingual Aphasia Examination (MAE; Benton et al. 1994). The COWAT uses two three letter sets – C, F, and L; and P, R, and W (Ross et al. 2006) – to assess phonemic fluency. Individuals are given 1 min to name as many words as possible beginning with one of the letters. The procedure is then repeated for the remaining two letters (see Strauss et al. 2006; Benton et al. 1994 for specific administration instructions). Several tests of phonemic fluency exist, some of which are part of larger test batteries (e.g., the MAE or the Neurosensory Center Comprehensive Examination for Aphasia; Spreen and Benton 1977) and others that can be administered independently (e.g., the F-A-S Test).

Verbal fluency is a cognitive function that facilitates information retrieval...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References and Readings

  1. Barry, D., Bates, M. E., & Labouvie, E. (2008). FAS and CFL forms of verbal fluency differ in difficulty: A meta-analytic study. Applied Neuropsychology, 15, 161–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Benton, A. L., Hamsher, K., Rey, G. L., & Sivan, A. B. (1994). Multilingual aphasia examination (3rd ed.). Iowa City: AJA Associates.Google Scholar
  3. Bolla, K. I., Gray, S., Resnick, S. M., Galante, R., & Kawas, C. (1998). Category and letter fluency in highly educated older adults. The Clinical Neuropsychologist, 12(3), 330–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Borkowski, J. G., Benton, A. L., & Spreen, O. (1967). Word fluency and brain damage. Neuropsychologia, 5, 135–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Goodglass, H., Kaplan, E., & Baressi, B. (2001). Boston diagnostic aphasia examination (3rd ed.). San Antonio: Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar
  6. Kertesz, A. (2006). Western aphasia battery. New York: Grune & Stratton.Google Scholar
  7. Lezak, M. D., Howieson, D. B., Loring, D. W., Hannay, H. J., & Fischer, J. S. (2004). Neuropsychological assessment (4th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Loonstra, A. S., Tarlow, A. R., & Sellers, A. H. (2001). COWAT metanorms across age, education and gender. Applied Neuropsychology, 8, 161–166.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Rodriguez-Aranda, C., & Martinussen, M. (2006). Age-related differences in performance of phonemic verbal fluency measured by Controlled Oral Word Association Task (COWAT): A meta-analytic study. Developmental Neuropsychology, 30(2), 697–717.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ross, T. P., Furr, A. E., Carter, S. E., & Weinberg, M. (2006). The psychometric equivalence of two alternate forms of the Controlled Oral Word Association Test. The Clinical Neuropsychlogist, 20, 414–431.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ross, T. P., Calhounn, E., Cox, T., Wenner, C., Kono, W., & Pleasant, M. (2007). The reliability and validity of qualitative scores for the Controlled Oral Word Association Test. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 22, 475–488.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Spreen, O., & Benton, A. L. (1977). Neurosensory center comprehensive examination for aphasia. Victoria: University of Victoria Neuropsychology Laboratory.Google Scholar
  13. Spreen, O., & Risser, A. H. (2003). Assessment of aphasia. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Strauss, E., Sherman, E. M. S., & Spreen, O. (2006). Compendium of neuropsychological tests: Administration, norms, and commentary (3rd ed.p. 502). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Troyer, A. K. (2000). Normative data for clustering and switching on verbal fluency tasks. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 22, 370–378.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Troyer, A. K., Moscovitch, M., & Winocur, G. (1997). Clustering and switching as two components of verbal fluency: Evidence from younger and healthy adults. Neuropsychology, 11, 138–146.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG (outside the USA) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology ServiceVA Northern California Health Care SystemMartinezUSA