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Changing Structures in Midstream: Learning Along the Statistical Garden Path
 

Summary: Changing Structures in Midstream: Learning Along
the Statistical Garden Path
Andrea L. Gebhart, Richard N. Aslin, Elissa L. Newport
Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, University of Rochester
Received 3 October 2008; received in revised form 19 February 2009; accepted 22 February 2009
Abstract
Previous studies of auditory statistical learning have typically presented learners with sequential
structural information that is uniformly distributed across the entire exposure corpus. Here we present
learners with nonuniform distributions of structural information by altering the organization of trisyl-
labic nonsense words at midstream. When this structural change was unmarked by low-level acoustic
cues, or even when cued by a pitch change, only the first of the two structures was learned. However,
both structures were learned when there was an explicit cue to the midstream change or when expo-
sure to the second structure was tripled in duration. These results demonstrate that successful extrac-
tion of the structure in an auditory statistical learning task reduces the ability to learn subsequent
structures, unless the presence of two structures is marked explicitly or the exposure to the second is
quite lengthy. The mechanisms by which learners detect and use changes in distributional informa-
tion to maintain sensitivity to multiple structures are discussed from both behavioral and computa-
tional perspectives.
Keywords: Statistical learning; Word segmentation; Primacy; Representation
1. Introduction

  

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

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine