Syntactic priming in written production: Evidence for rapid decay

H. P. Branigan, M. J. Pickering, A. A. Cleland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Citations (Scopus)


There is strong evidence for syntactic priming in language production (Bock, 1986), but little evidence about the time course of such effects. We report an experiment that examined the circumstances under which syntactic priming decays in written language production. Participants completed sentence fragments that allowed completions with one of two syntactic forms (Pickering & Branigan, 1998). They tended to produce the same syntactic form for immediately consecutive fragments, even though the two fragments described different events. However, when the experimental fragments were separated by other fragments with unrelated syntactic forms, this tendency rapidly diminished. The results suggest that priming effects in written production decay rapidly when other structures are subsequently produced. We discuss the implications for the application of syntactic information during production.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-640
Number of pages6
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1999


  • Noun Phrase
  • Ambiguity Resolution
  • Language Production
  • Target Fragment
  • Double Object


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