Lack of cross-modal effects in dual-modality implicit statistical learning

Xiujun Li, Xudong Zhao, Wendian Shi, Yang Lu, Christopher M. Conway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


A current controversy in the area of implicit statistical learning (ISL) is whether this process consists of a single, central mechanism or multiple modality-specific ones. To provide insight into this question, the current study involved three ISL experiments to explore whether multimodal input sources are processed separately in each modality or are integrated together across modalities. In Experiment 1, visual and auditory ISL were measured under unimodal conditions, with the results providing a baseline level of learning for subsequent experiments. Visual and auditory sequences were presented separately, and the underlying grammar used for both modalities was the same. In Experiment 2, visual and auditory sequences were presented simultaneously with each modality using the same artificial grammar to investigate whether redundant multisensory information would result in a facilitative effect (i.e., increased learning) compared to the baseline. In Experiment 3, visual and auditory sequences were again presented simultaneously but this time with each modality employing different artificial grammars to investigate whether an interference effect (i.e., decreased learning) would be observed compared to the baseline. Results showed that there was neither a facilitative learning effect in Experiment 2 nor an interference effect in Experiment 3. These findings suggest that participants were able to track simultaneously and independently two sets of sequential regularities under dual-modality conditions. These findings are consistent with the theories that posit the existence of multiple, modality-specific ISL mechanisms rather than a single central one.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number146
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue numberFEB
StatePublished - Feb 27 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Cross-modal learning
  • Dual-modality
  • Implicit statistical learning
  • Modality-specific
  • Multimodal input

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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