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PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE Research Article
 

Summary: PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE
Research Article
ESCIDENTAL LANGUAGE LEARNING:
Listening (and Leaming) out of the Comer of Your Ear
Jenny R. Saffran/ Elissa L. Newport/ Richard N. Aslin/ Rachel A. Tunick,^
and Sandra Barrueco^
^Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, University of Rochester; '^West Roxbury VA Hospital; and
^University of Denver
Abstract--Two experiments investigated the performance offirst-
grade children and adults on an incidental language-learning task.
Learning entailed word segmentation from continuous speech, an
initial and crucial component of language acquisition. Subjects
were briefly exposed to an unsegmented artificial language, pre-
sented auditorily, in which the only cues to word boundaries were
the transitional probabilities between syllables. Subjects were not
told that they were listening to a language, or even to listen at all;
rather, they were engaged in a cover task of creating computer
illustrations. Both adults and children learned the words of the
language. Moreover, the children performed as well as the adults.
These data suggest that a statistical learning mechanism (transi-

  

Source: Aslin, Richard N. - Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, University of Rochester

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine