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

Scheepers, Christoph, Sturt, Patrick, Martin, Catherine, Myachykov, Andriy, Teevan, Kay and Viskupova, Izabela (2011) Structural priming across cognitive domains: From simple arithmetic to relative-clause attachment. Psychological Science, 22 (10). pp. 1319-1326. ISSN 0956-7976

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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: Article
Additional Information: Published online 26 August 2011.
Uncontrolled Keywords: syntactic priming, relative-clause attachment, arithmetic, psycholinguistics, priming, language, mathematical ability
Subjects: C800 Psychology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Dr Andriy Myachykov
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2012 16:05
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2019 22:30

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