Two modes of transfer in artificial grammar learning.

R. J. Tunney*, G. T. Altmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Participants can transfer grammatical knowledge acquired implicitly in 1 vocabulary to new sequences instantiated in both the same and a novel vocabulary. Two principal theories have been advanced to account for these effects. One suggests that sequential dependencies form the basis for cross-domain transfer (e.g., Z. Dienes, G. T. M. Altmann, & S. J. Gao, 1999). Another argues that a form of episodic memory known as abstract analogy is sufficient (e.g., L. R. Brooks & J. R. Vokey, 1991). Three experiments reveal the contributions of the 2. In Experiment 1 sequential dependencies form the only basis for transfer. Experiment 2 demonstrates that this process is impaired by a change in the distributional properties of the language. Experiment 3 demonstrates that abstract analogy of repetition structure is relatively immune to such a change. These findings inform theories of artificial grammar learning and the transfer of grammatical knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)614-639
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of experimental psychology. Learning, memory, and cognition
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2001


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