Test-based AoA measures for 44 thousand English words

Age of acquisition (AoA) is an important variable in word recognition research. Up to now, nearly all psychology researchers examining the AoA effect have used ratings obtained from adult participants. An alternative basis for determining AoA is directly testing children’s knowledge of word meanings at various ages. In educational research, scholars and teachers have tried to establish the grade at which particular words should be taught by examining the ages at which children know various word meanings. Such a list is available from Dale and O’Rourke’s (1981) Living Word Vocabulary for nearly 44 thousand meanings coming from over 31 thousand unique word forms and multiword expressions. In Brysbaert & Biemiller (2018) we relate these test-based AoA estimates to lexical decision times as well as to AoA adult ratings, and report strong correlations between all of the measures. Therefore, test-based estimates of AoA can be used as an alternative measure.

You find an Excel file with the test-based AoA norms here.

If you use the norms, please refer to our article:

Brysbaert, M., & Biemiller, A. (2017). Test-based Age-of-Acquisition norms for 44 thousand English word meanings. Behavior Research Methods, 49(4), 1520-1523. pdf

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