Research Article

Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 183, Issue 3, pp 371-376

First online:

A repetition suppression effect lasting several days within the semantic network

  • Ingo G. MeisterAffiliated withDepartment of Neurology, University Hospital Cologne Email author 
  • , Dorothee BuelteAffiliated withDepartment of Neurology, RWTH Aachen University
  • , Roland SparingAffiliated withResearch Center Juelich, Institute of Neuroscience and Biophysics
  • , Babak BoroojerdiAffiliated withDepartment of Neurology, RWTH Aachen University

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Performance in a semantic task is speeded up for repeated stimuli compared to novel stimuli. This conceptual priming effect is related to a decrease in functional activation within the left inferior prefrontal cortex for repeated stimulus exposure (repetition suppression). However, in contrast to perceptual priming which is known to be very robust over long periods of time, previous studies on semantic priming focused on short-term effects. The present study combined a behavioral and functional imaging experiment to investigate long-term conceptual repetition priming (retention interval 3 days). We found a highly significant decrease of reaction time for word stimuli which were presented repeatedly after 3 days both compared to initial presentation and to a matched word list. The functional magnetic resonance imaging data showed a repetition suppression within the left inferior (BA45, BA47) and middle (BA9) frontal gyrus for the comparison of known with unknown words. These data demonstrate that even over a period as long as 3 days, a repetition suppression within the left frontal network involved in semantic decision can be found. Thus, priming-related mechanisms in the semantic network may be robust over several days.


Functional imaging Priming Semantic Psychophysical Implicit memory fMRI