Individual and Developmental Differences in Distributional Learning Purpose This study examined whether children and adults with developmental language disorder (DLD) could use distributional information in an artificial language to learn about grammatical category membership similarly to their typically developing (TD) peers and whether developmental differences existed within and between DLD and TD groups. Method Sixteen ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 14, 2018
Individual and Developmental Differences in Distributional Learning
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jessica Hall
    The University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • Amanda J. Owen Van Horne
    The University of Delaware, Newark
  • Karla K. McGregor
    The University of Iowa, Iowa City
    Boys Town National Research Hospital, Omaha, Nebraska
  • Thomas A. Farmer
    The University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • 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 Hall: jessicahall@email.arizona.edu
  • Editor-in-Chief: Mary Alt
    Editor-in-Chief: Mary Alt×
  • Publisher Note: This article is part of the Special Issue: How Statistical Learning Relates to Speech-Language Pathology.
    Publisher Note: This article is part of the Special Issue: How Statistical Learning Relates to Speech-Language Pathology.×
Article Information
Development / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Special Issue: How Statistical Learning Relates to Speech-Language Pathology / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 14, 2018
Individual and Developmental Differences in Distributional Learning
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, August 2018, Vol. 49, 694-709. doi:10.1044/2018_LSHSS-STLT1-17-0134
History: Received November 27, 2017 , Revised February 14, 2018 , Accepted March 11, 2018
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, August 2018, Vol. 49, 694-709. doi:10.1044/2018_LSHSS-STLT1-17-0134
History: Received November 27, 2017; Revised February 14, 2018; Accepted March 11, 2018

Purpose This study examined whether children and adults with developmental language disorder (DLD) could use distributional information in an artificial language to learn about grammatical category membership similarly to their typically developing (TD) peers and whether developmental differences existed within and between DLD and TD groups.

Method Sixteen children ages 7–9 with DLD, 26 age-matched TD children, 17 college students with DLD, and 17 TD college students participated in this task. We used an artificial grammar learning paradigm in which participants had to use knowledge of category membership to determine the acceptability of test items that they had not heard during a training phase.

Results Individuals with DLD performed similarly to TD peers in distinguishing grammatical from ungrammatical combinations, with no differences between age groups. The order in which items were heard at test differentially affected child versus adult participants and showed a relation with attention and phonological working memory as well.

Conclusion Differences in ratings between grammatical and ungrammatical items in this task suggest that individuals with DLD can form grammatical categories from novel input and more broadly use distributional information. Differences in order effects suggest a developmental timeline for sensitivity to updating distributional information.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by NIH-NIDCD F31DC015370 awarded to the first author and NIH-NIDCD 5R01DC011742 awarded to the third author. We thank Tim Arbisi-Kelm, Caitie Hilverman, Sarah O'Neill, and Elissa Newport for their help with stimuli creation and Nichole Eden, Danielle Reese, and Dan Plebanek for their assistance with data collection.
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