Error‐Correction Mechanisms in Language Learning: Modeling Individuals

Adnane Ez-zizi, Dagmar Divjak, Petar Milin*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Since its first adoption as a computational model for language learning, evidence has accumulated that Rescorla–Wagner error‐correction learning (Rescorla & Wagner, 1972) captures several aspects of language processing. Whereas previous studies have provided general support for the Rescorla–Wagner rule by using it to explain the behavior of participants across a range of tasks, we focus on testing predictions generated by the model in a controlled natural language learning task and model the data at the level of the individual learner. By adjusting the parameters of the model to fit the trial‐by‐trial behavioral choices of participants, rather than fitting a one‐for‐all model using a single set of default parameters, we show that the model accurately captures participants’ choices, time latencies, and levels of response agreement. We also show that gender and working memory capacity affect the extent to which the Rescorla–Wagner model captures language learning.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLanguage Learning
Issue number1
Early online date20 Apr 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Apr 2023


  • Empirical Study
  • language learning
  • error‐correction learning
  • Rescorla–Wagner model
  • morphology
  • agreement


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