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Slide Slam Q10

Gamified Tip-of-the-Tongue Assessment in Aging

Slide Slam Session Q, Friday, October 8, 2021, 12:00 - 2:30 pm PDT Log In to set Timezone

Hsi (Tiana) Wei1,2, Jed Meltzer1,2, Mark Chignell1; 1University of Toronto, 2Baycrest Hospital

Tip-of-the-tongue (ToT) is a common word-finding difficulty that worsens with age, serving as a potential warning sign of neurodegeneration. Most measures of word-finding difficulty focus only on single-word naming accuracy, which is not sensitive enough to assess ToT experienced by healthy older adults. To evaluate a potentially more sensitive ToT assessment, this study on young adults implemented three experiments that developed a word-picture interference paradigm not requiring a vocal response, while also evaluating gamified versions of the three experiments. In the word-picture interference paradigm, a target picture was accompanied by an audio word distractor that was either unrelated, phonologically-related, associatively-related, or categorically-related to the picture. Participants were instructed to indicate by button press whether the name of the picture ended in a particular phoneme varying by block. Experiment 1 (29 young healthy adults, age: 19.28 +/- 3.12) and Experiment 2 (33 young healthy adults, age: 23.21 +/- 5.69) successfully elicited the categorical slowing (word-picture interference) and phonological speeding (word-picture facilitation) at different optimal stimulus-onset-asynchronies between words and pictures. Experiment 3 (33 young healthy adults, age: 22.85 +/- 5.19) demonstrated that a key gamification feature (collecting coins for good performance) motivated higher speed at the expense of accuracy in the gamified versus experimental format of the task. In spite of speed-accuracy tradeoff, the gamified version of the experiment still demonstrated the expected categorical slowing and phonological speeding effects. In total, the three experiments established the optimal non-verbal paradigm and verified the validity of the gamification. With the upcoming fourth experiment, we will recruit 40 young (18-34 year-old), 40 young-old (60-74 year-old), and 40 old-old (75-89 year-old) healthy adults evaluate the word-picture interference and facilitation effects as potentially more sensitive measures of ToT, related to other neuropsychological test scores. With many older people being less willing or able to travel to labs for in-person experiments, remotely accessible cognitive assessments are needed for characterization of the precursors of cognitive impairment. In addition to improving our understanding of the ToT phenomenon, the results of this study demonstrate that gamification can enable more sensitive, convenient, and engaging assessment for word-finding difficulties, highly suitable for online experimentation, and possibly relevant to a range of other experimental paradigms of relevance to the study of cognitive aging.

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