Quantifying infants' statistical word segmentation: a meta-analysis


Theories of language acquisition and perceptual learning increasingly rely on statistical learning mechanisms. The current meta-analysis aims to clarify the robustness of this capacity in infancy within the word segmentation literature. Our analysis reveals a significant, small effect size for conceptual replications of Saffran, Aslin, & Newport (1996), and a nonsignificant effect across all studies that incorporate transitional probabilities to segment words. In both conceptual replications and the broader literature, however, statistical learning is moderated by whether stimuli are naturally produced or synthesized. These findings invite deeper questions about the complex factors that influence statistical learning, and the role of statistical learning in language acquisition.

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