Bulgarelli, F. 1 , Bosch, L. 2 & Weiss, D. 1
1 The Pennsylvania State University
2 Universitat de Barcelona
To date, the impact of bilingualism on statistical learning remains unclear. We test a novel visual statistical learning task that affords simultaneous learning of two types of regularities: transitional probabilities (TPs) between elements and visual features defining categories. We compared performance by English monolinguals and Spanish-Catalan simultaneous bilinguals, as previous studies have suggested that bilinguals might be more open to the presence of multiple patterns, though no previous studies have tested this type of simultaneous learning in the visual domain. We created two partially-overlapping visual streams of cartoon characters that shared some features (i.e., category learning) organized into bigrams (i.e. TPs). Experiment 1 demonstrated that both groups could learn the TPs and the categories within either stream when presented separately. In Experiment 2, when we tested whether participants could learn both regularities in both streams presented successively, monolinguals and bilinguals once again performed similarly. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to demonstrate that learners can simultaneously extract transitional statistics and category rules in the visual modality. We also found that language experience does not impact these types of statistical learning. We close by discussing how statistical learning mechanisms may generally be impacted by language experience.