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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Parallelism Effects and Verb Activation: The Sustained Reactivation Hypothesis

  • Author(s): Callahan, Sarah M.
  • Shapiro, Lewis P.
  • Love, Tracy
  • et al.

This study investigated the processes underlying parallelism by evaluating the activation of a parallel element (i.e., a verb) throughout and-coordinated sentences. Four points were tested: (1) approximately 1,600ms after the verb in the first conjunct (PP1), (2) immediately following the conjunction (PP2), (3) approximately 1,100ms after the conjunction (PP3), (4) at the end of the second conjunct (PP4). The results revealed no activation at PP1, suggesting activation related to the initial presentation had decayed by this point; however, activation was observed at PP2, PP3, and PP4, suggesting the conjunction elicits reactivation that is sustained throughout the second conjunct. These findings support a specific hypothesis about parallelism, the sustained reactivation hypothesis. This hypothesis claims that, in conjoined structures, a cue that is associated with parallelism elicits the reactivation of material from the first conjunct and that this activation is sustained until integration with the second conjunct can be completed.

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