Statistical frequency in perception affects children's lexical production

Peter T. Richtsmeier, Lou Ann Gerken, Lisa Goffman, Tiffany Hogan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Children's early word production is influenced by the statistical frequency of speech sounds and combinations. Three experiments asked whether this production effect can be explained by a perceptual learning mechanism that is sensitive to word-token frequency and/or variability. Four-year-olds were exposed to nonwords that were either frequent (presented 10 times) or infrequent (presented once). When the frequent nonwords were spoken by the same talker, children showed no significant effect of perceptual frequency on production. When the frequent nonwords were spoken by different talkers, children produced them with fewer errors and shorter latencies. The results implicate token variability in perceptual learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)372-377
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2009


  • Language acquisition
  • Perceptual learning
  • Phonotactic probabilities
  • Speech development
  • Talker variability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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