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EBP Compendium: Summary of Systematic Review

A Meta-Analytic Review of Verbal Fluency Performance Following Focal Cortical Lesions

Henry, J. D., & Crawford, J. R. (2004).
Neuropsychology, 18(2), 284–295.

Indicators of Review Quality:

The review addresses a clearly focused question No
Criteria for inclusion of studies are provided Yes
Search strategy is described in sufficient detail for replication Yes
Included studies are assessed for study quality No
Quality assessments are reproducible No

Description: This is a meta-analysis of controlled quantitative studies investigating the sensitivity of tests of verbal fluency to the presence of focal cortical lesions.

Question(s) Addressed:

Question not specifically stated.

Population: Adults with focal lesions localized in the frontal, temporal, or nonfrontal cortex or lateralized to either the right or left hemisphere.


  • FSIQ
  • VIQ
  • Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST-CC and WCST-PE)
  • Trail Making Test-Part A (TMT-A)

Number of Studies Included: 31

Years Included: 1982–October 2002



  • Assessment/Diagnosis
    • Assessment Areas
      • Language
        • Verbal Fluency - Compared to healthy controls, individuals with focal cortical lesions exhibited phonemic and semantic fluency deficits.
    • Assessment Instruments
      • Language
        • Verbal Fluency
          • "For frontal but not nonfrontal patients, phonemic fluency deficits qualified as differential deficits when compared with IQ and psychomotor speed; phonemic fluency was also more strongly and more specifically related to the presence of frontal lesions than the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test scores" (p. 284).
          • Individuals with temporal damage appeared to have a lesser deficit on phonemic fluency and a larger deficit on semantic fluency. 

Keywords: Brain Injury; Stroke

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Added to Compendium: February 2009

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