Some of the material in is restricted to members of the community. By logging in, you may be able to gain additional access to certain collections or items. If you have questions about access or logging in, please use the form on the Contact Page.
One active area of psycholinguistics research seeks to determine whether language acquisition occurs through domain-specific processes or domain-general processes. In other words, are the cognitive resources dedicated to language learning specific to language, or are they part of a more general learning mechanism? One intriguing strategy for investigating this question is through the comparative use of language and music: each is a complex system in which basic auditory elements are combined in hierarchical sequences governed by abstract rules. To understand either language or music, a person must learn these syntactic rules and generalize them to new situations. This study used an artificial grammar construct to investigate whether people learn and process musical and linguistic syntax similarly, and whether there is a correlation between a person's ability to learn complex grammatical systems in multiple modalities. The effect of previous musical experience on sequence learning was also examined. Results showed virtually no correlation between the three implicit learning tasks, suggesting that there is no domain-general implicit learning ability.