The head or the verb: Is the lexical boost restricted to the head verb?

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Abstract

Four structural priming experiments investigated whether the lexical boost is due to the repeated head verb of the primed structure or due to the repetition of any verb, testing structural priming of ditransitive structures (The hotel owner decided to loan the tourist a tent/a tent to the tourist). In Experiments 1-3, we manipulated the repetition of the matrix verb (decided) that is not the syntactic head in the primed structure. The results showed abstract structural priming of the embedded ditransitive structure but the repetition of the matrix verb did not boost the priming. In addition to manipulating the repetition of the matrix verb, we also manipulated the head verb of the primed structure (loan) in Experiment 4. It showed a lexical boost with the repetition of the head verb but no boost with the repetition of the matrix verb. These results are consistent with the residual activation model, which only predicts a boost from the verb that is the head of the primed structure. They do not support models which predict that the repetition of any lexical material in a sentence boosts priming.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104388
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Memory and Language
Volume129
Early online date23 Dec 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023

Keywords

  • language production
  • structural priming
  • lexical boost
  • syntactic head

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