Structural priming across cognitive domains: from simple arithmetic to relative-clause attachment

Scheepers, C. , Sturt, P., Martin, C.J., Myachykov, A., Teevan, K. and Viskupova, I. (2011) Structural priming across cognitive domains: from simple arithmetic to relative-clause attachment. Psychological Science, 22(10), pp. 1319-1326. (doi:10.1177/0956797611416997)

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Abstract

In the two experiments reported here, we uncovered evidence for shared structural representations between arithmetic and language. Specifically, we primed subjects using mathematical equations either with or without parenthetical groupings, such as 80 − (9 + 1) × 5 or 80 − 9 + 1 × 5, and then presented a target sentence fragment, such as “The tourist guide mentioned the bells of the church that . . .,” which subjects had to complete. When the mathematical equations were solved correctly, their structure influenced the noun phrase—for example, either “the bells of the church” or “the church,” respectively—that subjects chose to attach their sentence completion to. These experiments provide the first demonstration of cross-domain structural priming from mathematics to language. They highlight the importance of global structural representations at a very high level of abstraction and have potentially far-reaching implications regarding the domain generality of structural representations.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Scheepers, Dr Christoph and Myachykov, Dr Andriy
Authors: Scheepers, C., Sturt, P., Martin, C.J., Myachykov, A., Teevan, K., and Viskupova, I.
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology
Journal Name:Psychological Science
ISSN:0956-7976
ISSN (Online):1467-9280
Published Online:26 August 2011

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