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Language production and implicit statistical learning in typical development and children with acquired language disorders: an exploratory study

Mok, XTJ; Goh, SL; Saddy, JD; Varley, R; Zimmerer, V; (2021) Language production and implicit statistical learning in typical development and children with acquired language disorders: an exploratory study. Speech, Language and Hearing pp. 1-15. 10.1080/2050571x.2021.1954837. (In press).

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Abstract

Statistical properties of language provide important cues for language learning and may be processed by domain-general cognitive systems. We investigated the relationship between implicit statistical learning (the unconscious detection of statistical regularities in input) and language production. Twenty typically developing (TD) children and nine children with acquired language disorders (ALD) (aged 6–18 years) took part in a Boston Cookie Theft picture description task. Using a computerized analysis, we investigated statistical properties, such as usage frequency of words and collocation strength of word combinations. Participants also completed a non-linguistic serial reaction time (SRT) task, which tested non-verbal, implicit statistical learning in the visual-motor modality. We determined age effects, and compared language production and SRT performance between both groups. Older TD children produced more connected language, more words, less frequent function words, more rare or novel combinations, and showed better statistical learning. Children with ALD produced less connected language, more weakly collocated combinations, displayed less lexical diversity and showed poorer statistical learning. Post-hoc analyses found correlations between statistical learning and statistical properties of spoken language. Given the rarity and heterogeneity of children with ALD, group size was small and the study should be considered exploratory. However, we note that results are compatible with the view that language production draws on statistical learning and that impairment of statistical learning can be related to language disorders.

Type: Article
Title: Language production and implicit statistical learning in typical development and children with acquired language disorders: an exploratory study
DOI: 10.1080/2050571x.2021.1954837
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/2050571X.2021.1954837
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Language and Cognition
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10133471
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