Cognitive sequence learning in Parkinson's disease and amnestic mild cognitive impairment: Dissociation between sequential and non-sequential learning of associations

Helga Nagy, Szabolcs Kéri, Catherine E. Myers, György Benedek, Daphna Shohamy, Mark A. Gluck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Evidence suggests that dopaminergic mechanisms in the basal ganglia (BG) are important in the learning of sequential associations. To test the specificity of this hypothesis, we assessed never-medicated patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) and amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) using a chaining task. In the training phase of the chaining task, each link in a sequence of stimuli leading to reward is trained step-by-step using feedback after each decision, until the complete sequence is learned. In the probe phase of the chaining task, the context of stimulus-response associations must be used (the position of the associations in the sequence). Results revealed that patients with PD showed impaired learning during the training phase of the chaining task, but their performance was spared in the probe phase. In contrast, patients with aMCI with prominent medial temporal lobe (MTL) dysfunctions showed intact learning during the training phase of the chaining task, but their performance was impaired in the probe phase of the chaining task. These results indicate that when dopaminergic mechanisms in the BG are dysfunctional, series of stimulus-response associations are less efficiently acquired, but their sequential manner is maintained. In contrast, MTL dysfunctions may result in a non-sequential learning of associations, which may indicate a loss of contextual information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1386-1392
Number of pages7
JournalNeuropsychologia
Volume45
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 19 2007

Keywords

  • Amnestic mild cognitive impairment
  • Basal ganglia
  • Cognitive sequence learning
  • Dopamine
  • Feedback
  • Medial temporal lobe
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Reward

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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