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Interference between sentence processing and probabilistic implicit sequence learning

Interference between sentence processing and probabilistic implicit sequence learning

Nemeth, Dezso, Janacsek, Karolina ORCID: 0000-0001-7829-8220, Csifcsak, Gabor, Szvoboda, Gabor, Howard Jr, James H. and Howard, Darlene V. (2011) Interference between sentence processing and probabilistic implicit sequence learning. PLoS ONE, 6 (3):e17577. ISSN 1932-6203 (Online) (doi:

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Background: During sentence processing we decode the sequential combination of words, phrases or sentences according to previously learned rules. The computational mechanisms and neural correlates of these rules are still much debated. Other key issue is whether sentence processing solely relies on language-specific mechanisms or is it also governed by domain-general principles.

Methodology/Principal Findings: In the present study, we investigated the relationship between sentence processing and implicit sequence learning in a dual-task paradigm in which the primary task was a non-linguistic task (Alternating Serial Reaction Time Task for measuring probabilistic implicit sequence learning), while the secondary task were a sentence comprehension task relying on syntactic processing. We used two control conditions: a non-linguistic one (math condition) and a linguistic task (word processing task). Here we show that the sentence processing interfered with the probabilistic implicit sequence learning task, while the other two tasks did not produce a similar effect.

Conclusions/Significance: Our findings suggest that operations during sentence processing utilize resources underlying non domain specific probabilistic procedural learning. Furthermore, it provides a bridge between two competitive frameworks of language processing. It appears that procedural and statistical models of language are not mutually exclusive, particularly for sentence processing. These results show that the implicit procedural system is engaged in sentence processing, but on a mechanism level, language might still be based on statistical computations.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: sentence processing, statistical learning, implicit/procedural learning, dual task, mental grammar
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > School of Human Sciences (HUM)
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2021 11:12

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