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J Exp Psychol Gen. 2004 Sep;133(3):450-67.

This construction needs learned.

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Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin--Madison, Madison, WI, USA.


Four experiments are presented in which adults learned to comprehend a new syntactic construction in their native language. Experiments 1 and 2 demonstrate that adults quickly learn to comprehend the new construction and generalize it to new verbs. Experiment 3 shows that experience with the novel construction affects the processing of a construction already known to the participants and with which the novel construction is temporarily ambiguous. Experiment 4 demonstrates that the influence of a novel construction on the comprehension of familiar constructions is affected by the processing that occurred while the novel construction was learned. These results are discussed in the context of the constraint satisfaction approach to sentence processing and episodic-processing accounts of memory.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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