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Syntactic Priming

In our syntactic priming experiments, comprehenders read a prime sentence immediately before they read a target sentence.  We manipulate the relationship between the prime and the target sentence and assess comprehenders’ response to the target.  Our results show that processing a prime sentence speeds processing of a target sentence if the two have similar syntactic structures and if a critical verb is repeated across the prime and the target.  These results indicate that syntactic structure information is pre-compiled and stored in long term memory.


Boudewyn, M.A., Zirnstein, M., Swaab, T.Y., & Traxler, M.J. (2014). Priming Prepositional Phrase Attachment: Evidence from Eye-tracking and ERPs. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 467(3), 424-54.

Tooley, K.M., Swaab, T.Y., Boudewyn, M.A., Zirnstein, M. & Traxler, M.J. (2013). Evidence for Priming across Intervening Sentences during Online Sentence Comprehension. Language and Cognitive Processes, 129(3), 289-311.

Tooley, K., Traxler, M. & Swaab, T.Y. (2009). Electrophysiological and Behavioral Evidence of Syntactic Priming in Sentence Comprehension. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Language, Memory and Cognition, 35, 19-45.

Ledoux, K., Gordon, P.C., Camblin, C.C. & Swaab, T.Y (2007). Coreference and lexical repetition: Neural mechanisms of discourse integration. Memory and Cognition. 35 (4), 801-815