Context-freeness Revisited

Abstract

A series of papers have appeared investigating the ability of various species to learn context-free languages. From a computational point of view, the experiments in this tradition suffer from a number of problems concerning the stimuli used in the training phase of the experiments, the controls presented in the test phase of the experiments, and the motivation for and the conclusions drawn from the experiments. This paper discusses in some detail the problems with the existing work in this domain before presenting a new design for this type of experiments that avoids the problems identified in existing studies. Finally, the paper presents results from a small study demonstrating the benefits of the new design.


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