Child development and psycholinguistics expert to hold public lectures

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – An expert in child development and psycholinguistics from the University of Sydney in Australia will visit Penn State in October. Her visit will include two public lectures on statistical regularities and statistical learning in reading and language acquisition.

Joanne Arciuli, an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and associate professor in foundations of language learning, will present “How sensitivity to statistical regularities assists children when they are learning to read,” at 9 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 27, in Moore Building.

“There are many regularities in the way letters correspond with sounds and in the way certain letters can be combined in our writing system. It is thought that a form of implicit learning, such as statistical learning, underpins sensitivity to these and other kinds of statistical regularities when children are acquiring spoken and written language,” Arciuli said. “I will discuss some of my research on individual differences in children’s capacity for statistical learning and on the link between these individual differences and reading ability.”

Arciuli will also present, “Understanding the nature of statistical learning and how it might be related to atypical language acquisition in developmental disabilities,” at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 30, in 109 Walker Building.

“Statistical learning may be impaired or atypical in developmental disabilities such as dyslexia, specific language impairment, autism spectrum disorders, and hearing impairment in a way that affects language acquisition. However, the research findings to date have been mixed,” Arciuli said. “I will discuss some of the issues that need to be addressed in order for us to gain a clearer understanding of the role of statistical learning in developmental disabilities. Additionally, I will touch on some of the more applied research that has emerged in the quest to better support children who are struggling with language acquisition.”

Arciuli’s areas of expertise include speech, language, literacy and learning. She has published over 70 journal articles and is an associate editor for Reading and Writing and the International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. She is the international coordinator on the board of the Society for Scientific Studies of Reading.

Arciuli’s visit is possible through the support of the the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, College of Health and Human Development, Center for Language Science in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Science Research Institute.

“This is an opportunity for researchers in psychology, languages, linguistics, education and health to come together — from different places and disciplines — and find ways to collaborate,” said Carol Miller, professor of communication sciences and disorders at Penn State. 

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Last Updated October 11, 2017