The same 500 words were presented in 6 different word identification tasks (Experiment 1: lexical decision, semantic categorization, and 3 speeded naming tasks; Experiment 2: delayed naming). Reaction time (RT) distributions were estimated for each task and analyses tested for the effects of word frequency and animacy on various parameters of the RT distribution. Low frequency words yielded more skewed distributions than high frequency words in all tasks except delayed naming. The differential skew was most marked for tasks that required lexical discrimination. The semantic categorization task yielded highly skewed distributions for all words, but the word frequency effect was due to shifts in the location of the RT distributions rather than changes in skew. The results are used to evaluate the relative contributions of a common lexical access process and task-specific processes to performance in lexical discrimination and naming tasks.