Hierarchical structure priming from mathematics to two- and three-site relative clause attachment

Scheepers, Christoph, Galkina, Anastasia, Shtyrov, Yury and Myachykov, Andriy (2019) Hierarchical structure priming from mathematics to two- and three-site relative clause attachment. Cognition, 189. pp. 155-166. ISSN 0010-0277

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2019.03.021


A number of recent studies found evidence for shared structural representations across different cognitive domains such as mathematics, music, and language. For instance, Scheepers et al. (2011) showed that English speakers’ choices of relative clause (RC) attachments in partial sentences like The tourist guide mentioned the bells of the church that … can be influenced by the structure of previously solved prime equations such as 80–(9 + 1) × 5 (making high RC-attachments more likely) versus 80–9 + 1 × 5 (making low RC-attachments more likely). Using the same sentence completion task, Experiment 1 of the present paper fully replicated this cross-domain structural priming effect in Russian, a morphologically rich language. More interestingly, Experiment 2 extended this finding to more complex three-site attachment configurations and showed that, relative to a structurally neutral baseline prime condition, N1-, N2-, and N3-attachments of RCs in Russian were equally susceptible to structural priming from mathematical equations such as 18+(7+(3 + 11)) × 2, 18 + 7+(3 + 11) × 2, and 18 + 7 + 3 + 11 × 2, respectively. The latter suggests that cross-domain structural priming from mathematics to language must rely on detailed, domain-general representations of hierarchical structure.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cross-domain, Mathematics, Priming, Syntax
Subjects: C800 Psychology
Q100 Linguistics
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2019 08:45
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 18:34
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/39055

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