Modality transfer of acquired structural regularities: A preference for an acoustic route

Abstract

In this paper we investigate a modality transfer in syntactic classification of an implicitly acquired grammatical sequence structure. Participants either practiced on acoustically presented syllable sequences or visually presented consonant letter sequences. During classification, statistical frequency-based and rule-based characteristics of the classification stimuli were manipulated in an independent manner. Participants performed reliably above chance on the post-acquisition classification task although more so for the group practicing on syllable sequences. These subjects were also the only group to keep a significant performance level also in the transfer condition. The results points to the importance for keeping in mind the ecological validity of the input signal when using artificial grammar learning as a laboratory model for language acquisition.


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