Learning without trying: The clinical relevance of statistical learning

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Purpose: Statistical learning research seeks to identify the means by which learners, with little perceived effort, acquire the complexities of language. In the past 50 years, numerous studies have uncovered powerful learning mechanisms that allow for learning within minutes of exposure to novel language input. Method: We consider the value of information from statistical learning studies that show potential for making treatment of language disorders faster and more effective. Results: Available studies include experimental research that demonstrates the conditions under which rapid learning is possible, research showing that these findings apply to individuals with disorders, and translational work that has applied learning principles in treatment and educational contexts. In addition, recent research on memory formation has implications for treatment of language deficits. Conclusion: The statistical learning literature offers principles for learning that can improve clinical outcomes for children with language impairment. There is potential for further applications of this basic research that is yet unexplored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)710-722
Number of pages13
JournalLanguage, speech, and hearing services in schools
Issue number3S
StatePublished - Aug 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing

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