Implicit statistical learning is directly associated with the acquisition of syntax Academic Article uri icon


  • This article reports on an individual differences study that investigated the role of implicit statistical learning in the acquisition of syntax in children. One hundred children ages 4 years 5 months through 6 years 11 months completed a test of implicit statistical learning, a test of explicit declarative learning, and standardized tests of verbal and nonverbal ability. They also completed a syntactic priming task, which provided a dynamic index of children's facility to detect and respond to changes in the input frequency of linguistic structure. The results showed that implicit statistical learning ability was directly associated with the long-term maintenance of the primed structure. The results constitute the first empirical demonstration of a direct association between implicit statistical learning and syntactic acquisition in children.

publication date

  • 2012