What is it about?

Does spatial naming (the ability to verbally describe where objects are located in relation to other objects) change in healthy ageing, and is this ability more closely associated with verbal or visuospatial abilities, or both? Using a large community-based adult-lifespan sample who completed a novel Spatial Naming Test as well as (non-spatial) naming and (non-linguistic) visuospatial tasks, we found that communicating about spatial relations becomes more challenging with increasing age, and that declines in spatial naming are associated with changes in visuospatial abilities more than individual differences in linguistic abilities. We also established the psychometric evaluation of the new Spatial Naming Test, opening new avenues for future research on language and spatial cognition in typical and atypical populations across the lifespan.

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Why is it important?

Apart from the theoretical implications of the findings supporting that linguistic and non-linguistic representations of space are closely connected, they help us better understand how typical ageing affects various cognitive abilities to maximise quality of life and also to detect cases of atypical ageing. The development and validation of the new Spatial Naming Test offers potential for future research and clinical work.

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This page is a summary of: Naming spatial relations across the adult lifespan: At the crossroads of language and perception., Neuropsychology, March 2022, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/neu0000789.
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