Abstract Stimulus repetition improves performance and modulates event-related brain potentials in word recognition tasks. We recorded evoked magnetic responses from bilateral temporal sites of the brain to determine the cortical area related to the word repetition effect. Fourteen Japanese volunteers read words or pronounceable nonwords, some of which occurred twice with a lag of eight items. Clear magnetic responses were observed bilaterally. In the left hemisphere, a reduction of the magnetic responses by repetition was observed for words but not for nonwords in the latency range of 300–500 ms poststimulus. The sources of the responses were estimated to be in the left perisylvian area adjacent to the auditory cortex and the left parietal area. Only the perisylvian source activity showed the reduction by the word repetition. The left perisylvian area was thus suggested to be related to the word repetition effect. The activity in this area might be associated with the lexical memory process.