This positron emission tomography study dissociates the neural correlates of object recognition and naming. Stimuli comprised coloured outline drawings of objects and coloured nonsense shapes. Subjects either viewed or explicitly named objects, similarly they viewed or named the colour of the shapes. Activations common to object and colour naming were identified by contrasting the explicit naming conditions (objects and colours) with the control (viewing) conditions. Activations associated with object recognition were identified by contrasting both object conditions (naming and viewing) with both shape conditions and activations specific to object or colour naming were identified by contrasting object naming (relative to object viewing) with colour naming (relative to shape viewing). The results associate: (i) object recognition with left middle occipital and bilateral anterior temporal cortices; (ii) modality independent naming with left posterior basal temporal lobe and the left prefrontal cortex; (iii) areas specific to object naming with left temporal extrasylvian regions, left anterior insula and right cerebellum; and (iv) areas specific to colour naming with left posterior lingual and fusiform gyri and midline cerebellum. These results are discussed in relation to previous neuroimaging and neuropsychological findings.