Qualitative analysis of semantic clustering in early and mid adolescence

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Background: Semantic fluency tasks are used in evaluating word retrieval in children. In addition to examining overall word output, semantic clustering is used to assess the strategic retrieval process involved during searching and retrieving exemplars from specified category. Limited research on analysis of word retrieval strategies in adolescents exists with respect to Indian context. Therefore, present study is an attempt to conduct qualitative analysis of semantic clustering in early and mid adolescence. Method: 30 early and mid adolescent children aged 12 - 15 years were assessed on semantic fluency with participants instructed to generate as many words as possible belonging to specific semantic categories (animal, food & vehicle) in one minute for each category. Offline analysis of responses was done on total word output, semantic clusters and mean cluster size. Mean & Standard deviation were obtained for the measures for each semantic category. Results: Total word output produced by adolescents for the animal, food and vehicle fluency tasks were 13.13, 12.4 & 10.2 respectively. Detailed qualitative analysis on clustering revealed specific & common rules of organization pattern in terms of clustering the word output under semantic sub categories for each task. The average number of clusters and mean cluster size produced by adolescent children were approximately 3.47 & 2.12 respectively. Conclusion: The present study revealed specific clustering pattern on specific semantic categories which does not reach adult like pattern of word retrieval. Routine evaluation of semantic clustering can provide additional insight into word retrieval strategies in adolescents with developmental neurological conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-18
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Indian Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01-01-2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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