Statistical learning in late talkers and normal peers


1 Child Language Research Cluster, Department of Speech Therapy, School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

2 Department of Medical Education, Medical Education Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran


Background: Late talkers (LTs) are children under three with poor vocabularies and no developmental problems. Statistical learning (SL) is defined as processing or learning patterns of environmental stimuli, for example, spoken language, music, or motor, that will unfold in time. We hypothesize if some LTs outgrow as developmental language disorder, they might be identified using SL tasks at the onset. We aimed to find any correlation between language measures and SL outcomes in LTs and normal children (NC). Materials and Methods: Sixteen pairs of LTs and NCs were recruited using a convenient sampling method from day-care centers and speech therapy clinics of the Comprehensive Center for Child Development in Isfahan city, Iran. Visual sequences presented using Habit software version 2.2.4. Children's eye movements to visual sequences were monitored, and their reaction times and the number of anticipatory looks were analyzed offline. The language measures were determined in the free-play context. Results: Results indicated no significant correlation between SL and language measures and no difference observed in SL between the groups (P = 0.73). Conclusions: The results may refer to no overt correlation between SL and delayed overall linguistic measures along with inadequate samples, children's fatigue, or insufficiency of the visual task in presenting SL.


Fernald A, Marchman VA. Individual differences in lexical processing at 18 months predict vocabulary growth in typically developing and late-talking toddlers. Child Dev 2012;83:203-22.  Back to cited text no. 1
Fisher EL. A systematic review and meta-analysis of predictors of expressive-language outcomes among late talkers. J Speech Lang Hear Res 2017;60:2935-48.  Back to cited text no. 2
Desmarais C, Sylvestre A, Meyer F, Bairati I, Rouleau N. Systematic review of the literature on characteristics of late-talking toddlers. Int J Lang Commun Disord 2008;43:361-89.  Back to cited text no. 3
Dollaghan C. Late talker as a clinical category: A critical evaluation. In: Rescorla L, Dale PS, editors. Late Talkers: Language Development, Interventions and Outcomes. Baltimore, MD: Brookes; 2013. p. 91-112.  Back to cited text no. 4
Dale PS, Price TS, Bishop DV, Plomin R. Outcomes of early language delay: I. Predicting persistent and transient language difficulties at 3 and 4 years. J Speech Lang Hear Res 2003;46:544-60.  Back to cited text no. 5
Obeid R, Brooks PJ, Powers KL, Gillespie-Lynch K, Lum JA. Statistical learning in specific language impairment and autism spectrum disorder: A meta-analysis. Front Psychol 2016;7:1245.  Back to cited text no. 6
Evans JL, Saffran JR, Robe-Torres K. Statistical learning in children with specific language impairment. J Speech Lang Hear Res 2009;52:321-35.  Back to cited text no. 7
Ullman MT. Contributions of memory circuits to language: The declarative/procedural model. Cognition 2004;92:231-70.  Back to cited text no. 8
Lammertink I, Boersma P, Wijnen F, Rispens J. Children with developmental language disorder have an auditory verbal statistical learning deficit: Evidence from an online measure. Lang Learn 2020;70:137-78.  Back to cited text no. 9
Bishop DVM, Snowling MJ, Thompson PA, Greenhalgh T, and the CATALISE-2 consortium. Phase 2 of CATALISE: A multinational and multidisciplinary Delphi consensus study of problems with language development: Terminology. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 2017;58:1068-80.  Back to cited text no. 10
Lammertink I, Boersma P, Wijnen F, Rispens J. Statistical learning in specific language impairment: A meta-analysis. J Speech Lang Hear Res 2017;60:3474-86.  Back to cited text no. 11
Daltrozzo J, Conway CM. Neurocognitive mechanisms of statistical-sequential learning: What do event-related potentials tell us? Front Hum Neurosci 2014;8:437.  Back to cited text no. 12
Shafto CL, Conway CM, Field SL, Houston DM. Visual sequence learning in infancy: domain-general and domain-specific associations with language. Infancy 2012;17:247-71.  Back to cited text no. 13
Deocampo JA, Smith GNL, Kronenberger WG, Pisoni DB, Conway CM. The role of statistical learning in understanding and treating spoken language outcomes in deaf children with cochlear implants. Lang Speech Hear Serv Sch 2018;49:723-39.  Back to cited text no. 14
Cleeremans A, Destrebecqz A, Boyer M. Implicit learning: News from the front. Trends Cogn Sci 1998;2:406-16.  Back to cited text no. 15
Kidd E, Arciuli J. Individual differences in statistical learning predict children's comprehension of syntax. Child Dev 2016;87:184-93.  Back to cited text no. 16
Ellis EM, Gonzalez MR, Deák GO. Visual prediction in infancy: What is the association with later vocabulary? Lang Learn Dev 2014;10:36-50.  Back to cited text no. 17
Kidd E. Implicit statistical learning is directly associated with the acquisition of syntax. Dev Psychol 2012;48:171-84.  Back to cited text no. 18
Haebig E, Saffran JR, Ellis Weismer S. Statistical word learning in children with autism spectrum disorder and specific language impairment. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 2017;58:1251-63.  Back to cited text no. 19
Conway CM, Pisoni DB, Anaya EM, Karpicke J, Henning SC. Implicit sequence learning in deaf children with cochlear implants. Dev Sci 2011;14:69-82.  Back to cited text no. 20
Lum JA, Ullman MT, Conti-Ramsden G. Procedural learning is impaired in dyslexia: Evidence from a meta-analysis of serial reaction time studies. Res Dev Disabil 2013;34:3460-76.  Back to cited text no. 21
Lum JA, Conti-Ramsden G, Morgan AT, Ullman MT. Procedural learning deficits in specific language impairment (SLI): A meta-analysis of serial reaction time task performance. Cortex 2014;51:1-0.  Back to cited text no. 22
Vameghi R, Sajedi F, Kraskian Mojembari A, Habiollahi A, Lornezhad HR, Delavar B. Cross-cultural adaptation, validation and standardization of ages and stages questionnaire (ASQ) in Iranian children. Iran J Public Health 2013;42:522-8.  Back to cited text no. 23
Sajedi F, Vameghi R, Kraskian Mojembari A, Habibollahi A, Lornejad H, Delavar B. Standardization and validation of the ASQ developmental disorders screening tool in children of Tehran city. Tehran Univ Med J 2012;70:436-46.  Back to cited text no. 24
Ghanbari F, Kazemi Y, Nakhshab M. Validity and reliability of grammar section of the Macarthur–Bates communicative development inventories-toddler form in 16-30 months old Persian-speaking children in Isfahan. MEJDS 2016;6:130-6.  Back to cited text no. 25
Oakes, L.M., Sperka, D., DeBolt, M.C. et al. Habit2: A stand-alone software solution for presenting stimuli and recording infant looking times in order to study infant development. Behav Res 51,1943–1952 (2019).  Back to cited text no. 26
Kazemi Y. Clinical Assessment of Persian-Speaking Children with Language Impairment in Iran: Exploring the Potential of Language Sample Measures. Newcastle: Newcastle University; 2013. p. 242.  Back to cited text no. 27
Arnon I. Do current statistical learning tasks capture stable individual differences in children? An investigation of task reliability across modality. Behav Res Methods 2020;52:68-81.  Back to cited text no. 28
Saffran JR. Statistical learning as a window into developmental disabilities. J Neurodev Disord 2018;10:35.  Back to cited text no. 29
Jahangiri N, Ashrafzadeh F, Ghanaei A, A'lam A. Investigation of procedural memory in Persian-speaking children with specific language impairment (SLI). J SLP 2014;1:32-40.  Back to cited text no. 30
Gabriel A, Maillart C, Guillaume M, Stefaniak N, Meulemans T. Exploration of serial structure procedural learning in children with language impairment. J Int Neuropsychol Soc 2011;17:336-43.  Back to cited text no. 31