Frequency blocking and lexical access: One mental lexicon or two?

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Three experiments are reported in which a naming task is used to investigate the effects of frequency blocking on lexical access time. The first two experiments examined the long-term effects of a training list of either high-frequency or low-frequency words on a subsequent test list. No consistent effects were observed. The third experiment tested for short-term effects of frequency blocking by comparing performance on the same set of words in pure-frequency and mixed-frequency lists. No advantage was found for pure lists, nor was there any modification of the graded frequency effect found in mixed lists. These results are compatible with a frequency-ordered search model of lexical access in which all words are listed in a single lexicon regardless of frequency, and in which the search always begins at the highest-frequency entry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)190-203
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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