Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 1177–1182 | Cite as

The locus of the frequency effect in picture naming: When recognizing is not enough

  • Jorge AlmeidaEmail author
  • Mark Knobel
  • Matthew Finkbeiner
  • Alfonso Caramazza
Brief Reports


The lexical frequency effect in picture naming is generally assumed to constitute a signature of lexical access. Lexical frequency, however, is correlated with other variables, like concept familiarity, that can produce effects similar to those of lexical frequency in picture naming tasks. In this study, a delayed picture naming task was employed to address the hypothesis that the frequency effect in picture naming is due to variables that affect processing in the perceptual and semantic identification stages (i.e., input stages). Despite the fact that all the input processing stages were completed prior to the presentation of the naming cue, a strong frequency effect was still obtained in this task. These results establish that the lexical frequency effect is independent of variables affecting the input stages of picture naming, and, hence, confirm the lexical frequency effect as a signature effect of lexical access.


Frequency Effect Lexical Access Picture Naming Lexical Frequency Picture Recognition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Supplementary material (13 kb)
Supplementary material, approximately 340 KB.


  1. Alario, F.-X., Costa, A., &Caramazza, A. (2002). Frequency effects in noun phrase production: Implications for models of lexical access.Language & Cognitive Processes,17, 299–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barry, C., Hirsch, K. W., Johnston, R. A., &Williams, C. L. (2001). Age of acquisition, word frequency, and the locus of repetition priming of picture naming.Journal of Memory & Language,44, 350–375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bartram, D. J. (1976). Levels of coding in picture-picture comparison tasks.Memory & Cognition,4, 593–602.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bates, E., D’Amico, S., Jacobsen, T., Szekely, A., Andonova, E., Devescovi, A., et al. (2003). Timed picture naming in seven languages.Psychonomic Bulletin & Review,10, 344–380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bonin, P., &Fayol, M. (2002). Frequency effects in the written and spoken production of homophonic picture names.European Journal of Cognitive Psychology,14, 289–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Caramazza, A. (1997). How many levels of processing are there in lexical access?Cognitive Neuropsychology,14, 177–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Forster, K. I., &Forster, J. C. (2003). DMDX: A Windows display program with millisecond accuracy.Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers,35, 116–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Goldinger, S. D., Azuma, T., Abramson, M., &Jain, P. (1997). Open wide and say “blah!” Attentional dynamics of delayed naming.Journal of Memory & Language,37, 190–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Griffin, Z. M., &Bock, K. (1998). Constraint, word frequency, and the relationship between lexical processing levels in spoken word production.Journal of Memory & Language,38, 313–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Humphreys, G. W., Riddoch, M. J., &Quinlan, P. T. (1988). Cascade processes in picture identification.Cognitive Neuropsychology,5, 67–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Jescheniak, J. D., &Levelt, W. J. M. (1994). Word frequency effects in speech production: Retrieval of syntactic information and of phonological form.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition,20, 824–843.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Jescheniak, J. D., Meyer, A. S., &Levelt, W. J. M. (2003). Specificword frequency is not all that counts in speech production: Comments on Caramazza, Costa, et al. (2001) and new experimental data.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition,29, 432–438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Johnson, C. J., Paivio, A., &Clark, J. M. (1996). Cognitive components of picture naming.Psychological Bulletin,120, 113–139.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Kroll, J. F., &Potter, M. C. (1984). Recognizing words, pictures, and concepts: A comparison of lexical, object, and reality decisions.Journal of Verbal Learning & Verbal Behavior,23, 39–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Levelt, W. J. M., Roelofs, A., &Meyer, A. S. (1999). A theory of lexical access in speech production.Behavioral & Brain Sciences,22, 1–75.Google Scholar
  16. Morrison, C. M., Ellis, A. W., &Quinlan, P. T. (1992). Age of acquisition, not word frequency, affects object naming, not object recognition.Memory & Cognition,20, 705–714.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Oldfield, R. C., &Wingfield, A. (1965). Response latencies in naming objects.Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology,17, 273–281.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Roelofs, A. (1997). The WEAVER model of word-form encoding in speech production.Cognition,64, 249–284.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Snodgrass, J. G., &Vanderwart, M. (1980). A standardized set of 260 pictures: Norms for name agreement, image agreement, familiarity, and visual complexity.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning & Memory,6, 174–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Szekely, A., Jacobsen, T., D’Amico, S., Devescovi, A., Andonova, E., Herron, D., et al. (2004). A new on-line resource for psycholinguistic studies.Journal of Memory & Language,51, 247–250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Vitevitch, M. S., Armbrüster, J., &Chu, S. (2004). Sublexical and lexical representations in speech production: Effects of phonotactic probability and onset density.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition,30, 514–529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Wingfield, A. (1967). Perceptual and response hierarchies in object identification.Acta Psychologica,26, 216–226.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jorge Almeida
    • 3
    Email author
  • Mark Knobel
    • 3
  • Matthew Finkbeiner
    • 1
  • Alfonso Caramazza
    • 3
    • 2
  1. 1.Macquarie Centre for Cognitive ScienceSydneyAustralia
  2. 2.University of TrentoRoveretoItaly
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyHarvard UniversityCambridge

Personalised recommendations