Neural correlates of morphology acquisition through a statistical learning paradigm

Michelle Sandoval, Dianne Patterson, Huanping Dai, Christopher J. Vance, Elena Plante

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The neural basis of statistical learning as it occurs over time was explored with stimuli drawn from a natural language (Russian nouns). The input reflected the "rules" for marking categories of gendered nouns, without making participants explicitly aware of the nature of what they were to learn. Participants were scanned while listening to a series of gender-marked nouns during four sequential scans, and were tested for their learning immediately after each scan. Although participants were not told the nature of the learning task, they exhibited learning after their initial exposure to the stimuli. Independent component analysis of the brain data revealed five task-related sub-networks. Unlike prior statistical learning studies of word segmentation, this morphological learning task robustly activated the inferior frontal gyrus during the learning period. This region was represented in multiple independent components, suggesting it functions as a network hub for this type of learning. Moreover, the results suggest that subnetworks activated by statistical learning are driven by the nature of the input, rather than reflecting a general statistical learning system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1234
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue numberJUL
StatePublished - Jul 27 2017


  • FMRI
  • Implicit learning
  • Language
  • Morphology
  • Second language acquisition
  • Statistical learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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