Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type

Open Access Thesis



First Advisor

Amit Almor


Speakers engaged in dialogue align with one another across multiple linguistic levels to ensure effective communication. The Interactive Alignment Model (Pickering & Garrod, 2004) suggests speakers align due to automatic priming mechanisms at individual linguistic levels. Syntactic priming is the tendency to repeat a syntactic structure that has been recently comprehended or produced. Although syntactic priming is regarded as an automatic, abstract structural phenomenon, other linguistic factors can influence a syntactic structure’s priming strength. Lexical repetition between structures has been shown to enhance syntactic priming, an effect termed “lexical boost” (Branigan et al., 2000; Healey, Purvery, & Howes., 2014). Another lexical factor is a verb’s bias for a particular argument structure, which makes some verbs more resistant to syntactic priming (Gries, 2005; Bernolet & Hartsuiker, 2010). The present study extends upon Bernolet and Hartsuiker’s (2010) study of verb bias effects in syntactic priming in two ways: first, by replicating verb bias effects in syntactic priming in English, and second, by introducing verb repetition in addition to the overlap of verb structure bias to investigate lexical boost effects. The current study investigates whether lexical factors such as verb bias and lexical repetition distinctly modulate syntactic priming between speakers engaged in interactive dialogue, considers the results within two accounts of syntactic priming and discusses the implications and future directions for psycholinguistic models of syntactic priming and alignment during dialogue.


© 2022, Sarah Campbell Wilson

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