Exploring the neurodevelopment of visual statistical learning using event-related brain potentials

Ethan Jost, Christopher M. Conway, John D. Purdy, Anne M. Walk, Michelle A. Hendricks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Implicit statistical learning (ISL) allows for the learning of environmental patterns and is thought to be important for many aspects of perception, cognition, and language development. However, very little is known about the development of the underlying neural mechanisms that support ISL. To explore the neurodevelopment of ISL, we investigated the event-related potential (ERP) correlates of learning in adults, older children (aged 9-12), and younger children (aged 6-9) using a novel predictor-target paradigm. In this task, which was a modification of the standard oddball paradigm, participants were instructed to view a serial input stream of visual stimuli and to respond with a button press when a particular target appeared. Unbeknownst to the participants, covert statistical probabilities were embedded in the task such that the target was predicted to varying degrees by different predictor stimuli. The results were similar across all three age groups: a P300 component that was elicited by the high predictor stimulus after sufficient exposure to the statistical probabilities. These neurophysiological findings provide evidence for developmental invariance in ISL, with adult-like competence reached by at least age 6.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-107
Number of pages13
JournalBrain Research
StatePublished - Feb 9 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognitive development
  • ERP
  • Statistical learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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