Syntactic priming in comprehension: the role of argument order and animacy

Carminati, M.N., van Gompel, R.P.G., Scheepers, C. and Arai, M. (2008) Syntactic priming in comprehension: the role of argument order and animacy. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 34(5), pp. 1098-1110. (doi:10.1037/a0012795) (PMID:18763894)

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Abstract

Two visual-world eye-movement experiments investigated the nature of syntactic priming during comprehension. Specifically, are the priming effects in ditransitive PO/DO structures (e.g., The wizard will send the poison to the prince/the prince the poison) due to anticipation of structural properties following the verb (send) in the target sentence or due to anticipation of animacy properties of the first postverbal noun? Shortly following the target verb onset, listeners looked more at the recipient (relative to the theme) following DO than PO primes, indicating that the structure of the prime affected listeners eye gazes on the target scene. Crucially, this priming effect was the same irrespective of whether the postverbal nouns in the prime sentences differed in animacy (The general will send the telegram to the king) or not (The general will send the messenger to the king), suggesting that PO/DO priming in comprehension occurs because structural properties rather than animacy features are being primed when people process the ditransitive target verb.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Scheepers, Dr Christoph
Authors: Carminati, M.N., van Gompel, R.P.G., Scheepers, C., and Arai, M.
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology
College of Science and Engineering > School of Psychology
Journal Name:Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
ISSN:0278-7393
ISSN (Online):1939-1285

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