Structural priming: An experimental paradigm for mapping linguistic representations

Zhenguang G. Cai*, Nan Zhao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Previous reviews have extensively explored structural priming, but there is a noticeable absence of comprehensive discussion on its potential as a tool for mapping linguistic representations in various fields. This paper addresses this gap by reviewing studies that have utilised structural priming to tackle psycholinguistic issues beyond the persistence of syntactic structures itself. We discuss how structural priming can be employed to map syntactic representations and processes that underlie sentence comprehension, to decipher grammatical encoding in sentence production, to probe the way lexical entries interrelate, to arbitrate alternative syntactic analyses for disputed constructions in experimental syntax, and to illuminate linguistic representations in large language models. We conclude that structural priming, as an experimental paradigm, presents an exciting and promising pathway towards a nuanced, empirically-grounded understanding of linguistic representations and processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12507
Number of pages18
JournalLanguage and Linguistics Compass
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Linguistics and Language


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