The word-frequency effect (WFE) in recognition memory refers to the finding that more rare words are better recognized than more common words. We demonstrate that a familiarity-discrimination model operating on data from a semantic word-association space yields a robust WFE in data on both hit rates and false-alarm rates. Our modeling results suggest that word frequency is encoded in the semantic structure of language, and that this encoding contributes to the WFE observed in item-recognition experiments.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience