Structural Priming and the Lexical Boost

This ESRC-funded project is a collaboration between Roger van Gompel (principal investigator), Leila Kantola (co-investigator, University of UmeƄ), Laura Wakeford (postdoctoral researcher) and for research conducted on Dutch, Rob Hartsuiker (University of Ghent). Using the structural priming method (the finding that language producers tend to repeat structures between utterances) the aim is to find out how language producers represent syntactic information. In particular, previous research has shown that structural priming is stronger when words in the sentences are repeated (the lexical boost effect), suggesting that structures are represented with these words. However, it is not entirely clear with which words in the sentence structures are associated: Are they only associated with the head of the structure or also with other words? In this project, we will be trying to find an answer to this. We will also be investigating to what extent the lexical boost is different from structural priming in the absence of word repetition and whether the boost is affected by the use of different priming methods. The project extends previous work that we have done on structural priming and the lexical boost (e.g., Arai, Van Gompel, & Scheepers, 2007; Carminati, Van Gompel, Scheepers, & Arai, 2008; Kantola & Van Gompel, 2011; Van Gompel, Arai, & Pearson, 2012).