Learning Repetition, but not Syllable Reversal
Keywords:reduplication, reversal, learning, memory, Formal Language Theory, implicit learning, explicit learning
AbstractReduplication is common, but analogous reversal processes are rare, even though reversal, which involves nested rather than crossed dependencies, is less complex on the Chomsky hierarchy. We hypothesize that the explanation is that repetitions can be recognized when they match and reactivate a stored trace in short-term memory, but recognizing a reversal requires rearranging the input in working memory before attempting to match it to the stored trace. Repetitions can thus be recognized, and repetition patterns learned, implicitly, whereas reversals require explicit, conscious awareness. To test these hypotheses, participants were trained to recognize either a reduplication or a syllable-reversal pattern, and then asked to state the rule. In two experiments, above-chance classification performance on the Reversal pattern was confined to Correct Staters, whereas above-chance performance on the Reduplication pattern was found with or without correct rule-stating. Final proportion correct was positively correlated with final response time for the Reversal Correct Staters but no other group. These results support the hypothesis that reversal, unlike reduplication, requires conscious, time-consuming computation.
Published by the LSA with permission of the author(s) under a CC BY 3.0 license.