The Value of Statistical Learning to Cognitive Network Science

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To study the human mind is to consider the nature of associations—how are they learned, what are their constituent parts, and how can they be severed or adjusted? The manipulation of associations stands as a pillar of statistical learning (SL) research, which strongly suggests that processes as diverse as word segmentation, learning of grammatical patterns, and event perception can be explained by the learner's sensitivity to simple temporal dependencies (among other regularities). Used to determine the edges of a network, associations are similarly crucial to consider when quantifying the graph-theoretical properties of various cognitive systems. With this point of convergence in mind, the present work reaffirms the unique value of network science in illuminating the broad-level architectures of complex cognitive systems. However, I also describe how insights from the SL literature, coupled with insights from psycholinguistics more broadly, offer a strong theoretical backbone upon which we can develop and study networks that reflect, as closely as possible, the psychological realities of learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-92
Number of pages15
JournalTopics in Cognitive Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Artificial Intelligence


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