Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science




Dr. Ken McRae


The representation and organization of event concepts in semantic memory is an important issue in the domains of language processing and memory research. This thesis tested the hypothesis that pairs of words denoting events that can plausibly occur in sequence (marinate-grill) can prime a target that denotes a subsequently occurring, related event (chew). Experiment 1 showed that this type of priming occurs. I then tested whether such priming is contingent on presenting the primes in the order in which their referents occur in real life (marinate-grill), rather than in a temporally backward order (grill-marinate). Experiment 2 showed that priming was not contingent on prime order. Experiment 3 showed that individual primes (i.e., marinate and grill separately) did not prime their related event targets. Therefore, information from both primes must be integrated in order to sufficiently activate knowledge of the subsequently occurring target. This is the first study to demonstrate priming among words denoting sequentially occurring events. It is concluded that these results may provide support for perceptual simulation theory, but they cannot be accounted for by either spreading activation theory or Latent Semantic Analysis.



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