PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractProcedural, declarative, and working memory systems appear to play an important role in language learning. This paper seeks to determine the relationship between these memory systems and adult native English speakers' ability to learn foreign sound dimensions. Participants' declarative, procedural, and working memory capacities were assessed. Participants were also asked to complete a sound categorization task in a foreign language environment, where they cannot rely on their native language knowledge and their access to explicit reasoning strategies is blocked via a working memory task. We predicted that individuals with greater procedural memory capacity would better learn foreign sound categories under these conditions, because procedural memory skills appear to support implicit learning of new information and integration of dimensions. In contrast, we found that a greater declarative memory capacity positively correlated with accuracy in the sound categorization task. We also found a positive correlation between a higher working memory capacity and more balanced cue weighting (integration of different dimensions) in the sound categorization task. There were no correlations between the sound categorization task and procedural memory assessment performance; these findings indicate that declarative and working memory capacities likely play a larger role than previously indicated.
Degree ProgramHonors College
Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences