Saliency effects in distributional learning

Goudbeek, M., & Swingley, D. (2006). Saliency effects in distributional learning. In Proceedings of the 11th Australasian International Conference on Speech Science and Technology (pp. 478-482). Auckland: Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association.
Acquiring the sounds of a language involves learning to recognize distributional patterns present in the input. We show that among adult learners, this distributional learning of auditory categories (which are conceived of here as probability density functions in a multidimensional space) is constrained by the salience of the dimensions that form the axes of this perceptual space. Only with a particular ratio of variation in the perceptual dimensions was category learning driven by the distributional properties of the input.
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