Journal article

The cognitive roots of regularization in language.

Vanessa Ferdinand, Simon Kirby, Kenny Smith

Cognition | Elsevier BV | Published : 2019


Regularization occurs when the output a learner produces is less variable than the linguistic data they observed. In an artificial language learning experiment, we show that there exist at least two independent sources of regularization bias in cognition: a domain-general source based on cognitive load and a domain-specific source triggered by linguistic stimuli. Both of these factors modulate how frequency information is encoded and produced, but only the production-side modulations result in regularization (i.e. cause learners to eliminate variation from the observed input). We formalize the definition of regularization as the reduction of entropy and find that entropy measures are better ..

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