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Title: Implicit contextual learning in prodromal and early stage Huntington's disease patients
Authors: van Asselen, Marieke 
Almeida, Inês 
Júlio, Filipa
Januário, Cristina 
Campos, Elzbieta Bobrowicz 
Simões, Mário 
Castelo-Branco, Miguel 
Issue Date: Jul-2012
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Serial title, monograph or event: Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society
Volume: 18
Issue: 4
Abstract: Huntington's disease (HD) is a genetic neurodegenerative disorder affecting the basal ganglia. These subcortical structures are particularly important for motor functions, response selection and implicit learning. In the current study, we have assessed prodromal and symptomatic HD participants with an implicit contextual learning task that is not based on motor learning, but on a purely visual implicit learning mechanism. We used an implicit contextual learning task in which subjects need to locate a target among several distractors. In half of the trials, the positions of the distractors and target stimuli were repeated. By memorizing this contextual information, attention can be guided faster to the target stimulus. Nine symptomatic HD participants, 16 prodromal HD participants and 22 control subjects were included. We found that the responses of the control subjects were faster for the repeated trials than for the new trials, indicating that their visual search was facilitated when repeated contextual information was present. In contrast, no difference in response times between the repeated and new trials was found for the symptomatic and prodromal HD participants. The results of the current study indicate that both prodromal and symptomatic HD participants are impaired on an implicit contextual learning task.
ISSN: 1355-6177
DOI: 10.1017/S1355617712000288
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:FMUC Medicina - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais

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