[en] Fourteen patients with frontal lobe lesions and 14 normal subjects were tested on a recognition memory task that required discriminating between target words, new words that are synonyms of the targets and unrelated distractors. A deficit was found in 12 of the patients. Moreover, three different patterns of recognition impairment were identified: (I) poor memory for targets, (II) normal hits but increased false recognitions for both types of distractors, (III) normal hit rates, but increased false recognitions for synonyms only. Differences in terms of location of the damage and behavioural characteristics between these subgroups were examined. An encoding deficit was proposed to explain the performance of patients in subgroup I. The behavioral patterns of the patients in subgroups II and III could be interpreted as deficient postretrieval verification processes and an inability to recollect item-specific information, respectively.