The Cognitive Underpinnings of Inductive Grammar Learning

AbstractThe acquisition of the grammar of a second language requires a variety of cognitive mechanisms, including inductive reasoning. In the current study, we examine the cognitive underpinnings of grammar learning with an explicit-inductive (rule search) learning task, designed to capture more of the complexity associated with grammar learning than purely deductive tasks. Research in language aptitude has shown that working memory capacity (WMC) is a key predictor of grammar learning outcomes. Inductive reasoning and grammatical sensitivity are other established aptitude factors. The goal of the present study was to determine the degree to which relevant variables predict learning on an explicit-inductive grammar learning task. Our results indicate that both WMC and inductive reasoning ability predict learning over three days of grammar training.

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