Intact learning of artificial grammars and intact category learning by patients with Parkinson's disease

  • Reber P
  • Squire L
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Patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) have been shown to be impaired on some nondeclarative memory tasks that require cognitive skill learning (perceptual-motor sequence learning, probabilistic classification). To determine what other skill-based tasks are impaired, 13 patients with PD were tested on artificial grammar learning, artificial grammar learning with transfer to novel lettersets, and prototype learning. Patients with PD performed similarly to controls on all 3 tests. The intact learning exhibited by PD patients on these tests suggests that nondeclarative cognitive skill learning is not a single entity supported by the neostriatum. If learning the regularities among visual stimuli is the principal feature of artificial grammar learning and prototype learning, then these forms of skill learning may be examples of perceptual learning, and they may occur in early visual cortical processing areas.

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  • Paul J. Reber

  • Larry R. Squire

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