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

Abstract

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.

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Correspondence to Jorge Almeida.

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The research reported here was supported by NIH Grant DC04542 to A.C. J.A. was supported by a Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian’s research scholarship. M.K. was supported by the Sackler Scholar Programme in Psychobiology.

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Almeida, J., Knobel, M., Finkbeiner, M. et al. The locus of the frequency effect in picture naming: When recognizing is not enough. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 14, 1177–1182 (2007). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03193109

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Keywords

  • Frequency Effect
  • Lexical Access
  • Picture Naming
  • Lexical Frequency
  • Picture Recognition