Updating verbal fluency analysis for the 21st century: Applications for psychiatry
Evaluating patients’ verbal fluency by counting the number of unique words (e.g., animals) produced in a short-period (e.g., 1–3 min) is one of the most widely employed cognitive tests in psychiatric research. We introduce new methods to analyze fluency output that leverage modern computational language technology. This enables moving beyond simple word counts to charting the temporal dynamics of speech and objectively quantifying the semantic relationship of the utterances. These metrics can greatly expand the current psychiatric research toolkit and can help refine clinical theories regarding the nature of putative language differences in patients.