Structural priming of adjective-noun structures in hearing and deaf children

Liesbeth M. van Beijsterveldt, Janet G. van Hell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


We examined priming of adjective-noun structures in Dutch hearing and deaf children. In three experiments, hearing 7- and 8-year-olds, hearing 11- and 12-year-olds, and deaf 11- and 12-year-olds read a prenominal structure (e.g., the blue ball), a relative clause structure (e.g., the ball that is blue), or a main clause (e.g., the ball is blue). After reading each prime structure, children described a target picture in writing. Half of the target pictures contained the same noun as the prime structure and half contained a different noun. Hearing 7- and 8-year-olds and 11- and 12-year-olds, as well as deaf 11- and 12-year-olds, showed priming effects for all three structures in both the same-noun and different-noun conditions. Structural priming was not boosted by lexical repetition in the hearing and deaf 11- and 12-year-olds; a lexical boost effect was observed only in the 7- and 8-year-olds and only in the relative clause structure. The findings suggest that hearing and deaf children possess abstract representations of adjective-noun structures independent of particular lexical items.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-196
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of experimental child psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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