Lexical decision task for studying written word recognition in adults with and without dementia or mild cognitive impairment

Alexandre Nikolaev*, Eve Higby, Jungmoon Hyun, Sameer Ashaie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Older adults are slower at recognizing visual objects than younger adults. The same is true for recognizing that a letter string is a real word. People with Alzheimer's disease (AD) or Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) demonstrate even longer responses in written word recognition than elderly controls. Despite the general tendency towards slower recognition in aging and neurocognitive disorders, certain characteristics of words influence word recognition speed regardless of age or neuropathology (e.g., a word’s frequency of use). We present here a protocol for examining the influence of lexical characteristics on word recognition response times in a simple lexical decision experiment administered to younger and older adults and people with MCI or AD. In this experiment, participants are asked to decide as quickly and accurately as possible whether a given letter string is an actual word or not. We also describe mixed-effects models and principal components analysis that can be used to detect the influence of different types of lexical variables or individual characteristics of participants on word recognition speed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere59753
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number148
StatePublished - Jun 2019


  • Aging
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Behavior
  • Dementia
  • Issue 148
  • Lexical decision
  • Mild Cognitive Impairment
  • Mixed-effects models
  • Principal components analysis
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Word recognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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