Expectation Violation Leads to Generalization: The Effect of Prediction Error on the Acquisition of New Syntactic Structures

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Prediction error is known to enhance priming effects for familiar syntactic structures; it also strengthens the formation of new declarative memories. Here, we investigate whether violating expectations may aid the acquisition of new abstract syntactic structures, too, by enhancing memory for individual instances which can then form the basis for abstraction. In a cross-situational artificial language learning paradigm, participants were exposed to novel syntactic structures in ways that either violated their expectations (Surprisal group) or that conformed to them (Control group). Results from a delayed post-test show that participants in the Surprisal group developed stronger representations of the structures’ form-meaning mappings and were better able to generalize them to new instances, relative to the Control group.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society
Pages875-881
Number of pages7
Volume43
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event43rd Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society: Comparative Cognition: Animal Minds, CogSci 2021 - Virtual, Online, Austria
Duration: 26 Jul 202129 Jul 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society
Volume43
ISSN (Electronic)1069-7977

Conference

Conference43rd Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society: Comparative Cognition: Animal Minds, CogSci 2021
Country/TerritoryAustria
CityVirtual, Online
Period26/07/2129/07/21

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Cognitive Science Society: Comparative Cognition: Animal Minds, CogSci 2021.All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • artificial language learning
  • cross-situational learning
  • language acquisition
  • prediction error
  • syntax

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