Learning of grammar-like visual sequences by adults with and without language-learning disabilities

Jessica M. Aguilar, Elena Plante

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Two studies examined learning of grammar-like visual sequences to determine whether a general deficit in statistical learning characterizes this population. Furthermore, we tested the hypothesis that difficulty in sustaining attention during the learning task might account for differences in statistical learning. Method: In Study 1, adults with normal language (NL) or language-learning disability (LLD) were familiarized with the visual artificial grammar and then tested using items that conformed or deviated from the grammar. In Study 2, a 2nd sample of adults with NL and LLD were presented auditory word pairs with weak semantic associations (e.g., groom + clean) along with the visual learning task. Participants were instructed to attend to visual sequences and to ignore the auditory stimuli. Incidental encoding of these words would indicate reduced attention to the primary task. Results: In Studies 1 and 2, both groups demonstrated learning and generalization of the artificial grammar. In Study 2, neither the NL nor the LLD group appeared to encode the words presented during the learning phase. Conclusion: The results argue against a general deficit in statistical learning for individuals with LLD and demonstrate that both NL and LLD learners can ignore extraneous auditory stimuli during visual learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1394-1404
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Volume57
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2014

Keywords

  • Adults
  • Language
  • Language disorders
  • Procedural learning
  • Statistical learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing

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