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fMRI correlates of the word frequency Effect in Russian


  • Roza Vlasova

    () (Higher School of Economics, Faculty of Philology, Laboratory of Neurolinguistics)

  • Ekaterina Pechenkova

    () (Institute of Practical Psychology and Psychoanalysis)

  • Valentin Sinitsyn

    () (Federal Center of Medicine and Rehabilitation)


The results of the previous fMRI study of the word frequency effect in Russian (Malutina et al., 2012) contradict the results obtained from fMRI studies of English speakers. Two reasons for such inconsistency may be either task specificity (tasks involving verbs vs. tasks involving nouns) or cross-linguistic differences. This study examines fMRI correlates of word frequency in Russian using an object naming task. We found that several brain regions were more activated by the retrieval of low frequency rather than high frequency words: the fusiform gyrus, the inferior occipital gyrus, the middle occipital gyrus, the supplementary motor area, the inferior frontal gyrus bilaterally, the left thalamus, the left insula, and the right cingulate gyrus. At the same time we revealed no brain areas responding more to high frequency words. These results are consistent with the previous fMRI studies in English and also indicate the possible role of task specificity as well as possible interactions of task and word frequency in brain mechanisms for word retrieval

Suggested Citation

  • Roza Vlasova & Ekaterina Pechenkova & Valentin Sinitsyn, 2013. "fMRI correlates of the word frequency Effect in Russian," HSE Working papers WP BRP 02/LNG/2013, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hig:wpaper:02/lng/2013

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    word frequency effect; object naming; fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging); Russian language;

    JEL classification:

    • Z19 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Other

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