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Hebbian, correlational learning provides a memory-less mechanism for Statistical Learning irrespective of implementational choices: Reply to Tovar and Westermann

Endress, A. & Johnson, S. P. (2022). Hebbian, correlational learning provides a memory-less mechanism for Statistical Learning irrespective of implementational choices: Reply to Tovar and Westermann. Cognition,

Abstract

Statistical learning relies on detecting the frequency of co-occurrences of items and has been proposed to be crucial for a variety of learning problems, notably to learn and memorize words from fluent speech. Endress and Johnson (2021) (hereafter EJ) recently showed that such results can be explained based on simple memory-less correlational learning mechanisms such as Hebbian Learning. Tovar and Westermann (2022) (hereafter TW) reproduced these results with a different Hebbian model. We show that the main differences between the models are whether temporal decay acts on both the connection weights and the activations (in TW) or only on the activations (in EJ), and whether interference affects weights (in TW) or activations (in EJ). Given that weights and activations are linked through the Hebbian learning rule, the networks behave similarly. However, in contrast to TW, we do not believe that neurophysiological data are relevant to adjudicate between abstract psychological models with little biological detail. Taken together, both models show that different memory-less correlational learning mechanisms provide a parsimonious account of Statistical Learning results. They are consistent with evidence that Statistical Learning might not allow learners to learn and retain words, and Statistical Learning might support predictive processing instead.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2022. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Publisher Keywords: Statistical Learning; Implicit Learning; Transitional Probabilities; Neural Networks; Chunking
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
Q Science > QA Mathematics
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
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