The Role of Statistical Learning in Understanding and Treating Spoken Language Outcomes in Deaf Children With Cochlear Implants Purpose Statistical learning—the ability to learn patterns in environmental input—is increasingly recognized as a foundational mechanism necessary for the successful acquisition of spoken language. Spoken language is a complex, serially presented signal that contains embedded statistical relations among linguistic units, such as phonemes, morphemes, and words, which represent the phonotactic ... Review Article
Review Article  |   August 14, 2018
The Role of Statistical Learning in Understanding and Treating Spoken Language Outcomes in Deaf Children With Cochlear Implants
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Joanne A. Deocampo
    Department of Psychology, Georgia State University, Atlanta
  • Gretchen N. L. Smith
    Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis
  • William G. Kronenberger
    Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis
    Department of Psychiatry, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis
  • David B. Pisoni
    Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis
    Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University,Bloomington
  • Christopher M. Conway
    Department of Psychology, Georgia State University, Atlanta
    The Neuroscience Institute, Georgia State University, Atlanta
  • 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 Joanne A. Deocampo: jdeocampo@gsu.edu
  • Editor-in-Chief: Shelley Gray
    Editor-in-Chief: Shelley Gray×
  • Editor: Mary Alt
    Editor: 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 / Hearing Disorders / Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Special Issue: How Statistical Learning Relates to Speech-Language Pathology / Review Articles
Review Article   |   August 14, 2018
The Role of Statistical Learning in Understanding and Treating Spoken Language Outcomes in Deaf Children With Cochlear Implants
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, August 2018, Vol. 49, 723-739. doi:10.1044/2018_LSHSS-STLT1-17-0138
History: Received December 1, 2017 , Revised February 16, 2018 , Accepted March 11, 2018
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, August 2018, Vol. 49, 723-739. doi:10.1044/2018_LSHSS-STLT1-17-0138
History: Received December 1, 2017; Revised February 16, 2018; Accepted March 11, 2018

Purpose Statistical learning—the ability to learn patterns in environmental input—is increasingly recognized as a foundational mechanism necessary for the successful acquisition of spoken language. Spoken language is a complex, serially presented signal that contains embedded statistical relations among linguistic units, such as phonemes, morphemes, and words, which represent the phonotactic and syntactic rules of language. In this review article, we first review recent work that demonstrates that, in typical language development, individuals who display better nonlinguistic statistical learning abilities also show better performance on different measures of language. We next review research findings that suggest that children who are deaf and use cochlear implants may have difficulties learning sequential input patterns, possibly due to auditory and/or linguistic deprivation early in development, and that the children who show better sequence learning abilities also display improved spoken language outcomes. Finally, we present recent findings suggesting that it may be possible to improve core statistical learning abilities with specialized training and interventions and that such improvements can potentially impact and facilitate the acquisition and processing of spoken language.

Method We conducted a literature search through various online databases including PsychINFO and PubMed, as well as including relevant review articles gleaned from the reference sections of other review articles used in this review. Search terms included various combinations of the following: sequential learning, sequence learning, statistical learning, sequence processing, procedural learning, procedural memory, implicit learning, language, computerized training, working memory training, statistical learning training, deaf, deafness, hearing impairment, hearing impaired, DHH, hard of hearing, cochlear implant(s), hearing aid(s), and auditory deprivation. To keep this review concise and clear, we limited inclusion to the foundational and most recent (2005–2018) relevant studies that explicitly included research or theoretical perspectives on statistical or sequential learning. We here summarize and synthesize the most recent and relevant literature to understanding and treating language delays in children using cochlear implants through the lens of statistical learning.

Conclusions We suggest that understanding how statistical learning contributes to spoken language development is important for understanding some of the difficulties that children who are deaf and use cochlear implants might face and argue that it may be beneficial to develop novel language interventions that focus specifically on improving core foundational statistical learning skills.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (R01 DC01 2037) awarded to Christopher M. Conway. Preparation of this manuscript was also funded by NIDCD Research Grants R01-DC015257 to William G. Kronenberger and David B. Pisoni and R01-DC009581 to David B. Pisoni.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access