Learning Without Trying: The Clinical Relevance of Statistical Learning Purpose Statistical learning research seeks to identify the means by which learners, with little perceived effort, acquire the complexities of language. In the past 50 years, numerous studies have uncovered powerful learning mechanisms that allow for learning within minutes of exposure to novel language input. Method We consider ... Review Article
Review Article  |   August 14, 2018
Learning Without Trying: The Clinical Relevance of Statistical Learning
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Elena Plante
    The University of Arizona, Tucson
  • Rebecca L. Gómez
    The 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 Elena Plante: eplante@email.arizona.edu
  • Editor-in-Chief: Mary Alt
    Editor-in-Chief: Mary Alt×
  • Editor: Shelley Gray
    Editor: Shelley Gray×
  • 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 / Language Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Special Issue: How Statistical Learning Relates to Speech-Language Pathology / Review Articles
Review Article   |   August 14, 2018
Learning Without Trying: The Clinical Relevance of Statistical Learning
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, August 2018, Vol. 49, 710-722. doi:10.1044/2018_LSHSS-STLT1-17-0131
History: Received November 20, 2017 , Revised January 18, 2018 , Accepted February 7, 2018
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, August 2018, Vol. 49, 710-722. doi:10.1044/2018_LSHSS-STLT1-17-0131
History: Received November 20, 2017; Revised January 18, 2018; Accepted February 7, 2018

Purpose Statistical learning research seeks to identify the means by which learners, with little perceived effort, acquire the complexities of language. In the past 50 years, numerous studies have uncovered powerful learning mechanisms that allow for learning within minutes of exposure to novel language input.

Method We consider the value of information from statistical learning studies that show potential for making treatment of language disorders faster and more effective.

Results Available studies include experimental research that demonstrates the conditions under which rapid learning is possible, research showing that these findings apply to individuals with disorders, and translational work that has applied learning principles in treatment and educational contexts. In addition, recent research on memory formation has implications for treatment of language deficits.

Conclusion The statistical learning literature offers principles for learning that can improve clinical outcomes for children with language impairment. There is potential for further applications of this basic research that is yet unexplored.

Acknowledgments
Work involving translation of statistical learning principles to treatment by these authors is supported by NIDCD Grant R01DC015642 (E. Plante, principle investigator; R. Gómez, co-investigator). Portions of this review article were presented at the Callier Center, University of Texas, Dallas, in 2015 and at the Symposium for Research in Child Language Disorders in 2016.
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