Perceptual & Attentional constraints

Human language involves integrating information across sensory modalities and domains. Given the link established between statistical learning and language development, the question of the impact of sensory domain on learning becomes essential. Historically, there has been little research examining the extent that basic learning mechanisms rely on domain-general versus domain- or modality-specific processes. That is, does a single underlying ability mediate both the learning of visual patterns as well as auditory-verbal sequences? Or do there exist differences in how learning proceeds across sensory domains, with visual pattern learning unrelated to language acquisition? Or perhaps, as our research has begun to illustrate, statistical learning is mediated by a combination of both domain-general and domain-specific processes. Our research was among the first to emphasize that even though statistical learning appears to be largely domain-general (Conway & Pisoni, 2008), it is also heavily constrained by the sense modality in which the information is presented (e.g., Conway & Christiansen, 2005; Emberson, Conway et al., 2011). That is, the way in which patterns of information are learned through audition differs compared to vision and touch, despite there being shared processing resources for both.  In addition to the role of perception in learning, we are also interested in how other cognitive factors, such as attention and working memory resources, affect learning (Hendricks et al., 2013).


{Please note that all publications are copyrighted with their respective publishers (unless otherwise noted) and are to be used for educational and research purposes only.}

Singh, S., Daltrozzo, J., & Conway, C.M. (2017). Effect of pattern awareness on the behavioral and neurophysiological correlates of visual statistical learning. Neuroscience of Consciousness, 3(1): nix020. doi: 10.1093/nc/nix020. [pdf]

Walk, A.M. & Conway, C.M. (2016). Cross-domain statistical-sequential dependencies are difficult to learn. Frontiers in Psychology, 7:250. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00250. [pdf]

Ross, K.M. & Conway, C.M. (2016). Temporal structure modulates ERP correlates of visual sequential learning. In Papafragou, A., Grodner, D., Mirman, D., & Trueswell, J.C. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 740-745). Philadelphia, PA: Cognitive Science Society. [pdf]

Singh, S., Daltrozzo, J., & Conway, C.M. (2015). Attention and pattern consciousness reorganize the cortical topography of event-related potential correlates of visual sequential learning. In D.C. Noelle, R. Dale, A.S. Warlaumont, J. Yoshimi, T. Matlock, C.D. Jennings, & P.P. Maglio (Eds.), Proceedings of the 37th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 2212-2217). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society. [pdf]

Daltrozzo, J. & Conway, C.M. (2014). Neurocognitive mechanisms of statistical-sequential learning: What do event-related potentials tell us? Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8, 437. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00437. [pdf]

Hendricks, M.A., Conway, C.M., & Kellogg, R.T. (2013). Using dual-task methodology to dissociate automatic from nonautomatic processes involved in artificial grammar learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 39(5), 1491-1500. [pdf]

Emberson, L.L., Conway, C.M., & Christiansen, M.H. (2011). Timing is everything: Changes in presentation rate have opposite effects on auditory and visual implicit statistical learning. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 64, 1021-1040. [pdf]

Conway, C.M. & Christiansen, M.H. (2009). Seeing and hearing in space and time: Effects of modality and presentation rate on implicit statistical learning. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 21, 561-580. [pdf]

Conway, C.M. & Pisoni, D.B. (2008). Neurocognitive basis of implicit learning of sequential structure and its relation to language processing. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1145, 113-131. [pdf]

Conway, C.M. & Christiansen, M.H. (2006). Statistical learning within and between modalities: Pitting abstract against stimulus-specific representations. Psychological Science, 17, 905-912. [pdf]

Conway, C.M., & Christiansen, M.H. (2005).  Modality-constrained statistical learning of tactile, visual, and auditory sequences. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 31, 24-39. [pdf]