Statistical learning (SL) refers to the ability of the human mind to extract patterns from complex input based on regularities. The concept originally derived from studies in infant language learning. Prior to the 1990s, there was a widespread belief among linguists that only inborn knowledge could explain how infants learn language so readily. A major tenet of these nativist views of language development is the impossibility of infants having any cognitive endowment that would be equal to the task of discovering language rules. In this view, the language heard by the child is impoverished because it lacks key information needed to unlock the rules of grammar. There are two important questions raised by the nativist view. First, what is the nature of the information in ...

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