The study aims to help characterize the sort of structures about which people can acquire unconscious knowledge. It is already well established that people can implicitly learn n-grams and also repetition patterns. We explore the acquisition of unconscious structural knowledge of symmetry. Chinese Tang poetry uses a specific sort of mirror symmetry, an inversion rule with respect to the tones of characters in successive lines of verse. We show, using artificial poetry to control both n-gram structure and repetition patterns, that (...) people can implicitly learn to discriminate inversions from non-inversions, presenting a challenge to existing models of implicit learning. (shrink)
We investigated the implicit learning of a linguistically relevant variable in a natural language context . Trial by trial subjective measures indicated that exposure to a form–animacy regularity led to unconscious knowledge of that regularity. Under the same conditions, people did not learn about another form–meaning regularity when a linguistically arbitrary variable was used instead of animacy . Implicit learning is constrained to acquire unconscious knowledge about features with high prior probabilities of being relevant in that domain.
An experiment explored the acquisition of conscious and unconscious knowledge of semantic prosody in a second language under incidental and intentional learning conditions. Semantic prosody is the conotational coloring of the semantics of a word, largely uncaptured by dictionary definitions. Contrary to some claims in the literature, we revealed that both conscious and unconscious knowledge were involved in the acquisition of semantic prosody. Intentional learning resulted in similar unconscious but more conscious knowledge than incidental learning. The results are discussed in (...) terms of second language learning and the nature of unconscious knowledge. (shrink)
We demonstrated unconscious learning of task-irrelevant perceptual regularities in a Serial Reaction Time task in both visual and auditory domains. Participants were required to respond to different letters or syllables which occurred in random order. Unbeknownst to participants, the color of the two letters or the tone of the syllables varied according to certain rules. Reaction times indicated that people indeed learnt both the color and tonal regularities indicating that task-irrelevant sequence structure can be learned perceptually. In a subsequent prediction (...) test of knowledge of the color or tonal cues using subjective measures, we showed that people could acquire task irrelevant knowledge unconsciously. (shrink)
Previous research has established that people can implicitly learn chunks, which do not require a memory buffer to process. The present study explores the implicit learning of nonlocal dependencies generated by higher than finite-state grammars, specifically, Chinese tonal retrogrades and inversions , which do require buffers . People were asked to listen to and memorize artificial poetry instantiating one of the two grammars; after this training phase, people were informed of the existence of rules and asked to classify new poems, (...) while providing attributions of the basis of their judgments. People acquired unconscious structural knowledge of both tonal retrogrades and inversions. Moreover, inversions were implicitly learnt more easily than retrogrades constraining the nature of the memory buffer in computational models of implicit learning. (shrink)
Previous research has shown that people can implicitly acquire mappings between word forms and literal meanings . We argue, from the metaphor-representation and embodiment perspectives, that people can unconsciously establish mappings between word forms and not only literal but also metaphorical meanings. Using Williams’ paradigm, we found that transfer of form-meaning connections from a concrete domain to an abstract domain was achieved in a metaphor-consistent way without awareness. Our results support the view that unconscious knowledge can be flexibly deployed in (...) an abstract way not previously explored in the implicit learning literature. (shrink)