Statistical learning by 8-month-old infants.

TitleStatistical learning by 8-month-old infants.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1996
AuthorsSaffran JR, Aslin RN, Newport EL
Date Published1996 Dec 13
KeywordsDiscrimination Learning, Humans, Infant, Language Development, Learning, Speech Perception

Learners rely on a combination of experience-independent and experience-dependent mechanisms to extract information from the environment. Language acquisition involves both types of mechanisms, but most theorists emphasize the relative importance of experience-independent mechanisms. The present study shows that a fundamental task of language acquisition, segmentation of words from fluent speech, can be accomplished by 8-month-old infants based solely on the statistical relationships between neighboring speech sounds. Moreover, this word segmentation was based on statistical learning from only 2 minutes of exposure, suggesting that infants have access to a powerful mechanism for the computation of statistical properties of the language input.

Alternate JournalScience
PubMed ID8943209
Grant ListR01 DC000167 / DC / NIDCD NIH HHS / United States
R01 DC000167-26 / DC / NIDCD NIH HHS / United States
R01 HD037082 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
DC00167 / DC / NIDCD NIH HHS / United States