Statistical learning bias predicts second-language reading efficiency


Statistical learning (SL) is increasingly invoked as a set of general-purpose mechanisms upon which language learning is built during infancy and childhood. Here we investigated the extent to which SL is related to adult language processing. In particular, we asked whether SL proclivities towards relations that are more informative of English are related to efficiency in reading English sentences by native speakers of Korean. We found that individuals with a stronger statistical learning sensitivity showed a larger effect of conditional word probability on word reading times, indicating that they more efficiently incorporated statistical regularities of the language during reading. In contrast, L2 English proficiency was related to overall reading speed but not to the use of statistical regularities.

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