The Effect of Prosody on Distributional Learning in 12- to 13-Month-Old Infants
Article first published online: 4 MAY 2011
Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Infant and Child Development
Volume 21, Issue 2, pages 135–145, March/April 2012
How to Cite
Thothathiri, M., Snedeker, J. and Hannon, E. (2012), The Effect of Prosody on Distributional Learning in 12- to 13-Month-Old Infants. Inf. Child Develop., 21: 135–145. doi: 10.1002/icd.734
- Issue published online: 1 MAR 2012
- Article first published online: 4 MAY 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 4 APR 2011
- Manuscript Revised: 30 MAR 2011
- Manuscript Received: 31 MAR 2010
- Harvard University Mind/Brain/Behavior (MBB)
- artificial grammar;
- distributional learning;
Distributional information is a potential cue for learning syntactic categories. Recent studies demonstrate a developmental trajectory in the level of abstraction of distributional learning in young infants. Here we investigate the effect of prosody on infants' learning of adjacent relations between words. Twelve- to thirteen-month-old infants were exposed to an artificial language comprised of 3-word-sentences of the form aXb and cYd, where X and Y words differed in the number of syllables. Training sentences contained a prosodic boundary between either the first and the second word or the second and the third word. Subsequently, infants were tested on novel test sentences that contained new X and Y words and also contained a flat prosody with no grouping cues. Infants successfully discriminated between novel grammatical and ungrammatical sentences, suggesting that the learned adjacent relations can be abstracted across words and prosodic conditions. Under the conditions tested, prosody may be only a weak constraint on syntactic categorization. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.