Conway_2005 - Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning,...

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Modality-Constrained Statistical Learning of Tactile, Visual, and Auditory Sequences Christopher M. Conway and Morten H. Christiansen Cornell University The authors investigated the extent to which touch, vision, and audition mediate the processing of statistical regularities within sequential input. Few researchers have conducted rigorous comparisons across sensory modalities; in particular, the sense of touch has been virtually ignored. The current data reveal not only commonalities but also modality constraints affecting statistical learning across the senses. To be specific, the authors found that the auditory modality displayed a quantitative learning advantage compared with vision and touch. In addition, they discovered qualitative learning biases among the senses: Primarily, audition afforded better learning for the final part of input sequences. These findings are discussed in terms of whether statistical learning is likely to consist of a single, unitary mechanism or multiple, modality-constrained ones. The world is temporally bounded: Events do not occur all at once but rather are distributed in time. Therefore, it is crucial for organisms to be able to encode and represent temporal order information. One potential method for encoding temporal order is to learn the statistical relationships of elements within sequential input. This process appears to be important in a diverse set of learning situations, including speech segmentation (Saffran, New- reaction time tasks; Cleeremans, 1993) and nonlinguistic, auditory human adults but also infants (Gomez & Gerken, 1999; Kirkham, Slemmer, & Johnson, 2002; of statistical learning. Noting such widespread examples of statistical learning, many researchers—either implicitly or explicitly—view statistical learn- ing as a single, domain-general phenomenon (e.g., Kirkham et al., 2002). Although it may be true that statistical learning across different domains is based on similar computational principles, it is also likely that modality constraints exist that may differentially affect such processing. For instance, traditionally, vision and au- dition have been viewed as spatial and temporal senses, respec- tively (Kubovy, 1988). Empirical evidence from perceptual and temporal processing experiments supports such a distinction be- tween vision and audition (e.g., Glenberg & Swanson, 1986; unknown whether and how these modality constraints affect the learning of statistical relationships between elements contained within sequential input. This article explores potential modality constraints affecting
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This note was uploaded on 09/19/2009 for the course PSYCH 2090 taught by Professor Goldstein, m during the Spring '07 term at Cornell.

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Conway_2005 - Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning,...

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