Measuring (online) word segmentation in adults and children
Keywords:psycholinguistics, statistical learning, word segmentation task, click detection task, online measure
Since Saffran, Aslin and Newport (1996) showed that infants were sensitive to transitional probabilities between syllables after being exposed to a few minutes of fluent speech, there has been ample research on statistical learning. Word segmentation studies usually test learning by making use of “offline methods” such as forced-choice tasks. However, cognitive factors besides statistical learning possibly influence performance on those tasks. The goal of the present study was to improve a method for measuring word segmentation online. Click sounds were added to the speech stream, both between words and within words. Stronger expectations for the next syllable within words as opposed to between words were expected to result in slower detection of clicks within words, revealing sensitivity to word boundaries. Unexpectedly, we did not find evidence for learning in multiple groups of adults and child participants. We discuss possible methodological factors that could have influenced our results.
Adriaans, F. (2006). PhonotacTools (Test version) [Computer program]. Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS.
Bates, D., Mächler, M., Bolker, B., & Walker, S. (2015). Fitting linear mixed-effects models using lme4. Journal of Statistical Software, 67(1), 1–48. https://doi.org/10.18637/jss.v067.i01.
Batterink, L. J., & Paller, K. A. (2019). Statistical learning of speech regularities can occur outside the focus of attention. Cortex, 115, 56–71. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2019.01.013
Black, A., & Bergmann, C. (2017). Quantifying infants’ statistical word segmentation: A meta-analysis. Proceedings of the 39th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science, 124–129.
Boersma, P., & Weenink, D. (2019). Praat: Doing phonetics by computer Version 6.1.05 [Computer program]. http://www.praat.org/.
Cohen, L., & Mehler, J. (1996). Click monitoring revisited: An on-line study of sentence comprehension. Memory & Cognition, 24(1), 94-102.
Cole, R. (1980). Perception and production of fluent speech. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Endress, A. D., & Hauser, M. D. (2010). Word segmentation with universal prosodic cues. Cognitive Psychology, 61(2), 177–99. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cogpsych.2010.05.001
Erickson, L., Kaschak, M., Thiessen, E., & Berry, C. (2016). Individual differences in statistical learning: Conceptual and measurement issues. Collabra: Psychology, 2(1). https://doi.org/10.1525/collabra.41
Evans, J. L., Saffran, J. R., & Robe-Torres, K. (2009). Statistical learning in children with specific language impairment. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research : JSLHR, 52(2), 321–335. https://doi.org/10.1044/1092-4388(2009/07-0189)
Finn, A. S., & Kam, C. L. H. (2008). The curse of knowledge: First language knowledge impairs adult learners’ use of novel statistics for word segmentation. Cognition, 108(2), 477–499. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2008.04.002
Finn, A. S., Kharitonova, M., Holtby, N., & Sheridan, M. A. (2018). Prefrontal and hippocampal structure predict statistical learning ability in early childhood. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 31(1), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1162/jocn_a_01342
Fodor, J. A., & Bever, T. G. (1965). The psychological reality of linguistic segments. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 4(5), 414-420.
Foss, D. J., & Lynch Jr., R. H. (1969). Decision processes during sentence comprehension: Effects of surface structure on decision times. Perception & Psychophysics, 5(3), 145-148.
Franco, A., Gaillard, V., Cleeremans, A., & Destrebecqz, A. (2015). Assessing segmentation processes by click detection: Online measure of statistical learning, or simple interference? Behavior Research Methods, 47(4), 1393–1403. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13428-014-0548-x
Gómez, D. M., Bion, R. A., & Mehler, J. (2011). The word segmentation process as revealed by click detection. Language and Cognitive Processes, 26(2), 212–223. https://doi.org/10.1080/01690965.2010.482451
Graf Estes, K. (2012). Infants generalize representations of statistically segmented words. Frontiers in Psychology, 3, 1–13. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00447
Graf Estes, K., & Lew-Williams, C. (2015). Listening through voices: Infant statistical word segmentation across multiple speakers. Developmental Psychology, 51(11), 1517–1528. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0039725
Haebig, E., Saffran, J. R., & Ellis Weismer, S. (2017). Statistical word learning in children with autism spectrum disorder and specific language impairment. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 58(11), 1251–1263. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcpp.12734
Johnson, E. K., & Tyler, M. D. (2010). Testing the limits of statistical learning for word segmentation. Developmental Science, 13(2), 339–345. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-7687.2009.00886.x
Kidd, E., Arciuli, J., Christiansen, M. H., Isbilen, E. S., Revius, K., & Smithson, M. (2020). Measuring children’s auditory statistical learning via serial recall. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 200, 104964.
Kooijman, V., Hagoort, P., & Cutler, A. (2005). Electrophysiological evidence for prelinguistic infants’ word recognition in continuous speech. Cognitive Brain Research, 24(1), 109–116. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cogbrainres.2004.12.009
Kraemer, H. C., & Blasey, C. M. (2004). Centring in regression analyses: A strategy to prevent errors in statistical inference. International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research, 13(3), 141–51.
Lammertink, I., Boersma, P., Wijnen, F., & Rispens, J. (2019). Children with developmental language disorder have an auditory verbal statistical learning deficit: Evidence from an online measure. Language Learning. https://doi.org/10.1111/lang.12373
Lukács, A., Dobó, D., Szóllósi, A., Németh, K., & Lukics, K. (2019). Domain general statistical learning impairment in dyslexia: Sensitivity of online and offline measures across modalities and domains. Poster session presented at Interdisciplinary Advances on Statistical learning 2019, June 27-29, San Sebastián, Spain.
Mainela-Arnold, E., & Evans, J. L. (2014). Do statistical segmentation abilities predict lexical-phonological and lexical-semantic abilities in children with and without SLI? Journal of Child Language, 41(2), 327–351. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0305000912000736
Micheyl, C., Hunter, C., & Oxenham, A. J. (2010). Auditory stream segregation and the perception of across-frequency synchrony. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 36(4), 1029-1039. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0017601
Mirman, D., Magnuson, J. S., Graf Estes, K., & Dixon, J. A. (2008). The link between statistical segmentation and word learning in adults. Cognition, 108(1), 271–280. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2008.02.003
R Core Team (2020). A language and environment for statistical computing [Computer program]. https://www.r-project.org/.
Romberg, A. R., & Saffran, J. R. (2010). Statistical learning and language acquisition. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 1(6), 906–914. https://doi.org/10.1002/wcs.78
Saffran, J. R., Aslin, R. N., & Newport, E. L. (1996a). Statistical learning by 8-month-old infants. Science, 274(5294), 1926–1928.
Saffran, J. R., Newport, E. L., & Aslin, R. N. (1996b). Word segmentation: The role of distributional cues. Journal of Memory and Language, 35(4), 606–621.
Saffran, J. R., Newport, E. L., Aslin, R. N., Tunick, R. A., & Barrueco, S. (1997). Incidental language learning: Listening (and learning) out of the corner of your ear. Psychological Science, 8(2), 101–105.
Schneider, W., Eschman, A., & Zuccolotto, A. (2002). E-Prime (Version 2.0). [Computer software and manual]. Psychology Software Tools Inc.
Siegelman, N., Bogaerts, L., Elazar, A., Arciuli, J., & Frost, R. (2018). Linguistic entrenchment: Prior knowledge impacts statistical learning performance. Cognition, 177, 198–213. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2018.04.011
Siegelman, N., Bogaerts, L., Kronenfeld, O., & Frost, R. (2017). Redefining “learning” in statistical learning: What does an online measure reveal about the assimilation of visual regularities? Cognitive Science, 1–36. https://doi.org/10.1111/cogs.12556
Thiessen, E. D., Hill, E. A., & Saffran, J. R. (2005). Infant-directed speech facilitates word segmentation. Infancy, 7(1), 53–71.
Toro, J. M., Sinnett, S., & Soto-Faraco, S. (2005). Speech segmentation by statistical learning depends on attention. Cognition, 97(2), B25–B34. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2005.01.006
Van Hedger, S. C., Johnsrude, I., & Batterink, L. (2020). Prior real-world experience influences non-linguistic statistical learning. PsyArxiv. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/yscn8
Van Noorden, L. S. (1975). Temporal coherence in the perception of tone sequences. PhD thesis. Eindhoven University of Technology.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2021 Iris Broedelet, Paul Boersma, Judith Rispens
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.