Verbal Versus Figural Fluency Tests in Currently Ill and Weight Restored Anorexia Nervosa Patients

Eyal Heled, Dan Hoofien, Eytan Bachar, Richard P. Ebstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Fluency tests allow domain-specific assessment of verbal and non-verbal executive functions (EF) comparison and also enable utilizing of both quantitative and qualitative scoring methods. Thirty-five currently ill anorexia nervosa patients (PANs), 33 weight-restored patients (WRAN) and 47 healthy controls (HCs) were administered the word fluency test and the five-point test. Results show that WRANs tended to perseverate more than HCs in the verbal-fluency test. In addition, PANs produced significantly less correct figures and perseverated more than HCs and WRANs; HCs used more strategy methods than PANs and WRANs. Additionally, a positive correlation was found in the HC group between the total number of words in the verbal phonemic test and the number of designs produced and the number of correct designs. No such correlations were found in both anorexia groups. In conclusion, there is a differentiation between verbal and non-verbal EF in PANs and WRANs, showing a deficiency in the non-verbal domain. These findings may contribute to our understanding of the cognitive nature of the disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-213
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Eating Disorders Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 May 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • anorexia nervosa
  • executive functions
  • five-point test
  • word fluency test


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