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Structural priming is most useful when the conclusions are statistically robust

  • Kyle Mahowald (a1), Ariel James (a2), Richard Futrell (a1) and Edward Gibson (a1)


Branigan & Pickering (B&P) claim that the success of structural priming as a method should “end the current reliance on acceptability judgments.” Structural priming is an interesting and useful phenomenon, but we are dubious that the effect is powerful enough to test many detailed claims about specific points of syntactic theory.



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Bock, K. & Loebell, H. (1990) Framing sentences. Cognition 35(1):139. doi:10.1016/0010-0277(90)90035-I.
Flett, S. (2006) A comparison of syntactic representation and processing in first and second language production. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Edinburgh.
Mahowald, K., James, A., Futrell, R. & Gibson, E. (2016b) A meta-analysis of syntactic priming in language production. Journal of Memory and Language 91:527. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2016.03.009.
Wittenberg, E. (2014) With light verb constructions from syntax to concepts. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Potsdam.


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