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Although word-finding difficulty is commonly self-reported by older adults, there are no clinical instruments able to reliably distinguish normal age-related effects from pathology in word-finding impairments. The purpose of this
study is two-fold: (1) design and evaluate the validity of the Poreh Naming Test, a novel electronic confrontation naming test used to evaluate naming difficulties in demented populations and (2) to investigate the effect of normal aging word-finding abilities on confrontation naming tests, using both accuracy and response latency as performance indices. A community sample was used with each participant being administered the Boston Naming Test, the Poreh Naming Test, semantic verbal fluency and phonemic verbal fluency tasks. Each participant over the age of 65 or younger participants reporting health problems shown to interfere with confrontation naming test performance also received the St. Louis University Mental Status Exam. The 57-item Poreh Naming Test used in this study was analyzed and refined to a 30-item test. Items were defined as easy, medium, or hard based on latency and proportion of the sample that correctly named the item. The Poreh Naming Test was found to be a valid measure of word-finding abilities and was shown to better distinguish between mental status exam groups than the Boston Naming Test. However, the findings of this study do not support the hypotheses that normal aging has a negative impact on word-finding skills. Cognitive status was the best predictor for accuracy and latency on the confrontation naming tasks and no effect of age was found on accuracy or latency in either confrontation naming test.