Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
In two fMRI experiments, participants named pictures with superimposed distractors that were high or low in frequency or varied in terms of age of acquisition. Pictures superimposed with low-frequency words were named more slowly than those superimposed with high-frequency words, and late-acquired words interfered with picture naming to a greater extent than early-acquired words. The distractor frequency effect (Experiment 1) was associated with increased activity in left premotor and posterior superior temporal cortices, consistent with the operation of an articulatory response buffer and verbal self-monitoring system. Conversely, the distractor age-of-acquisition effect (Experiment 2) was associated with increased activity in the left middle and posterior middle temporal cortex, consistent with the operation of lexical level processes such as lemma and phonological word form retrieval. The spatially dissociated patterns of activity across the two experiments indicate that distractor effects in picture–word interference may occur at lexical or postlexical levels of processing in speech production.