The Effects of group categorisation on word order priming in dialogue
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A great deal is known about people’s social and language behaviour in research; however, a lot less is known about whether these two influences interact. This study aimed to find if a link could be drawn between them, by investigating whether a particular aspect of people’s social behaviour, namely group categorisation, interacted with word order priming, which is an important aspect of people’s language behaviour. Using a referential communication task, pairs of speakers took it in turns to describe picture cards to each other. One speaker was the confederate who was scripted to produce noun phrases with particular word orders. Results demonstrated word order priming, with naïve participants tending to repeat the same word order as the confederate’s prime. Furthermore, results found that repeating the same noun between prime and target description did not enhance the word order priming effect, relative to when a different noun was used. In addition, group categorisation did not interact with word order priming, suggesting that either the effects of group categorisation cannot be extended to people’s language behaviour, or the methodological problems outlined in the present study prevented an interaction from occurring. A number of solutions to these problems are highlighted.