Speaker: LAURA BATTERINK, Western University
Title: Implicit learning, language acquisition, and their meeting point
Ebbinghaus Empire Series 2018-2019
Video Recording of Talk
Abstract:Understanding language requires taking into account the fundamental cognitive distinction between implicit and explicit processing. Languages all contain countless regularities or patterns. These can be both highly complex and subtle, and native speakers are typically unaware of them. I have argued that implicit learning, which produces knowledge that is inaccessible to awareness, plays an important role in acquiring these types of patterns across the lifespan. Drawing upon EEG/ERP evidence, I willdemonstrate that linguistic rules or patterns (1) can be processed outside of awareness; (2) can be acquired by adult second language learners unintentionally and implicitly; and (3) can be influenced and enhanced by memory processing during sleep. Taken together, these results show that many of the mechanisms that support language processing and acquisition-as well as learning more generally-operate "beneath the surface" and outside of our conscious awareness. This research has important implications for understanding why language acquisition and many other types of learning become so much more effortful later in life. By taking into account how learning can occur unintentionally or without focused attention, we can now seek to identify optimal learning conditions and strategies for language, particularly for adult non-native learners.
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