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Front Psychol. 2018 Feb 27;9:146. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00146. eCollection 2018.

Lack of Cross-Modal Effects in Dual-Modality Implicit Statistical Learning.

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School of Psychology and Cognitive Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China.
Department of Psychology, School of Education, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai, China.
NeuroLearn Lab, Department of Psychology, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA, United States.
Neuroscience Institute, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA, United States.


A current controversy in the area of implicit statistical learning (ISL) is whether this process consists of a single, central mechanism or multiple modality-specific ones. To provide insight into this question, the current study involved three ISL experiments to explore whether multimodal input sources are processed separately in each modality or are integrated together across modalities. In Experiment 1, visual and auditory ISL were measured under unimodal conditions, with the results providing a baseline level of learning for subsequent experiments. Visual and auditory sequences were presented separately, and the underlying grammar used for both modalities was the same. In Experiment 2, visual and auditory sequences were presented simultaneously with each modality using the same artificial grammar to investigate whether redundant multisensory information would result in a facilitative effect (i.e., increased learning) compared to the baseline. In Experiment 3, visual and auditory sequences were again presented simultaneously but this time with each modality employing different artificial grammars to investigate whether an interference effect (i.e., decreased learning) would be observed compared to the baseline. Results showed that there was neither a facilitative learning effect in Experiment 2 nor an interference effect in Experiment 3. These findings suggest that participants were able to track simultaneously and independently two sets of sequential regularities under dual-modality conditions. These findings are consistent with the theories that posit the existence of multiple, modality-specific ISL mechanisms rather than a single central one.


cross-modal learning; dual-modality; implicit statistical learning; modality-specific; multimodal input

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