Language is acquired in part through statistical learning abilities that encode environmental regularities. Language development is also heavily influenced by social environmental factors such as socioeconomic status. However, it is unknown to what extent statistical learning interacts with SES to affect language outcomes. We measured event-related potentials in 26 children aged 8-12 while they performed a visual statistical learning task. Regression analyses indicated that children's learning performance moderated the relationship between socioeconomic status and both syntactic and vocabulary language comprehension scores. For children demonstrating high learning, socioeconomic status had a weaker effect on language compared to children showing low learning. These results suggest that high statistical learning ability can provide a buffer against the disadvantages associated with being raised in a lower socioeconomic status household.
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