Rapid Learning of Morphological Paradigms

Abstract

The present study presents a novel paradigm for testing the ability for adults to rapidly learn novel morphological categories in the wake of irrelevant information: specifically number markings intermixed with irrelevant gender cues. Using an artificial language learning paradigm, participants were exposed to picture-sound pairs in which pictures of animals varied by number (singular, dual and plural), but with irrelevant gender information intermixed with the exposure items (masculine, feminine and neuter). Auditory stimuli were presented in CVCVCV forms (e.g., [zovabu]) in which the first two syllables denoted the animal (e.g., [zova] for snail) and the final syllable denoted number. (e.g., [bu] for single). Results revealed that participants were able to learn which category the suffix endings referred to, based on a two-alternative forced-choice generalization task. Implications for the learning of complex paradigms are discussed.


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