Learning of Grammar-Like Visual Sequences by Adults With and Without Language-Learning Disabilities 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 ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 2014
Learning of Grammar-Like Visual Sequences by Adults With and Without Language-Learning Disabilities
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jessica M. Aguilar
    University of Arizona, Tucson
  • Elena Plante
    University of Arizona, Tucson
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Jessica M. Aguilar: jaguilar@email.arizona.edu
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Jessica Richardson
    Associate Editor: Jessica Richardson×
Article Information
Development / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 2014
Learning of Grammar-Like Visual Sequences by Adults With and Without Language-Learning Disabilities
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2014, Vol. 57, 1394-1404. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-L-13-0124
History: Received May 15, 2013 , Revised October 7, 2013 , Accepted December 8, 2013
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2014, Vol. 57, 1394-1404. doi:10.1044/2014_JSLHR-L-13-0124
History: Received May 15, 2013; Revised October 7, 2013; Accepted December 8, 2013
Web of Science® Times Cited: 3

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.

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