Semantic influence on processing gender agreement: Evidence from Hebrew

Avital Deutsch*, Shlomo Bentin, Leonard Katz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


In the present study we examined the influence of manipulating the animacy of the sentential subject on the size of the syntactic priming effect induced by violation of subject-predicate gender agreement in Hebrew. The agreement violation delayed naming incongruent compared with congruent predicates. This priming effect was stronger when the sentential subject was an animate than an inanimate noun. Additional experiments revealed that: (1) the interaction between the priming effect and animacy of the subject could not be explained on the basis of differences in the phonological transparency of the gender inflection in the two groups of nouns, and (2) it was sensitive to the ratio of animate/inanimate conditions in a block. We suggest that the interaction between the processing of agreement and the effect of animacy is influenced by a controlled process of verifying the coherence of a currently identified word within a built-up context.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)515-535
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Psycholinguistic Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1999

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a grant from the Israeli Foundations Trustees to Shlomo Bentin, and by a grant from NICHD (#01994) to Haskins Laboratories. 1 School of Education, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. 2 Department of Psychology and Center of Neural Computation, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel. 3 Haskins Laboratories, New Haven, Connecticut. 4 Address correspondence to Avital Deutsch, School of Education, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 19905, Israel.


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