Implicit statistical learning and language skills in bilingual children

Dongsun Yim, John Rudoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Purpose: Implicit statistical learning in 2 nonlinguistic domains (visual and auditory) was used to investigate (a) whether linguistic experience influences the underlying learning mechanism and (b) whether there are modality constraints in predicting implicit statistical learning with age and language skills. Method: Implicit statistical learning was examined in visual and auditory domains. One hundred twelve English native speaking monolinguals and Spanish-English bilinguals age 5-13 years participated in the study. Language skills were measured by standardized language tests. Results: The overall results showed that all children implicitly learned statistical regularities above chance level in bothmodalities.However, there was no group difference between monolingual and bilingual children on either visual or auditory tasks. Lastly, a different tendency in predicting implicit statistical learning was observed for each group. In the monolingual group, both age and language scores significantly explained auditory statistical learning, whereas age explained visual statistical learning. In the bilingual group, age explained auditory statistical learning, and nothing was significant for visual statistical learning. Conclusions: These findings are discussed in terms of the extent to which implicit statistical learning is influenced by internal and external factors and a consideration of important notions when testing bilingual children's language skills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-322
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013


  • Bilingual children
  • Implicit learning
  • Language learning
  • Nonlinguistic statistical learning


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