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ERIC Number: EJ872896
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Mar
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0277
Implicit Statistical Learning in Language Processing: Word Predictability Is the Key
Conway, Christopher M.; Bauernschmidt, Althea; Huang, Sean S.; Pisoni, David B.
Cognition, v114 n3 p356-371 Mar 2010
Fundamental learning abilities related to the implicit encoding of sequential structure have been postulated to underlie language acquisition and processing. However, there is very little direct evidence to date supporting such a link between implicit statistical learning and language. In three experiments using novel methods of assessing implicit learning and language abilities, we show that sensitivity to sequential structure--as measured by improvements to immediate memory span for structurally-consistent input sequences--is significantly correlated with the ability to use knowledge of word predictability to aid speech perception under degraded listening conditions. Importantly, the association remained even after controlling for participant performance on other cognitive tasks, including short-term and working memory, intelligence, attention and inhibition, and vocabulary knowledge. Thus, the evidence suggests that implicit learning abilities are essential for acquiring long-term knowledge of the sequential structure of language--i.e., knowledge of word predictability-- and that individual differences on such abilities impact speech perception in everyday situations. These findings provide a new theoretical rationale linking basic learning phenomena to specific aspects of spoken language processing in adults, and may furthermore indicate new fruitful directions for investigating both typical and atypical language development. (Contains 5 figures and 5 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A