Cognitive Science 34 (6):1093-1106 (2010)
AbstractInfant and adult learners are able to identify word boundaries in fluent speech using statistical information. Similarly, learners are able to use statistical information to identify word–object associations. Successful language learning requires both feats. In this series of experiments, we presented adults and infants with audio–visual input from which it was possible to identify both word boundaries and word–object relations. Adult learners were able to identify both kinds of statistical relations from the same input. Moreover, their learning was actually facilitated by the presence of two simultaneously present relations. Eight-month-old infants, however, do not appear to benefit from the presence of regular relations between words and objects. Adults, like 8-month-olds, did not benefit from regular audio–visual correspondences when they were tested with tones, rather than linguistic input. These differences in learning outcomes across age and input suggest that both developmental and stimulus-based constraints affect statistical learning
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