Perceptual learning in amnesia

Neuropsychologia. 2002;40(8):1167-72. doi: 10.1016/s0028-3932(01)00231-7.


Evidence from experiments on perceptual learning, accumulated during the last few years, increasingly indicates that the relative 'front end' parts of the visual system are more plastic even in adults than was previously expected. Hence, it might be possible that perceptual learning is similar in several respects to procedural learning and may be achieved even without (declarative) memory traces present. Results on six patients suffering from global amnesia due to damage to hippocampal-diencephalic systems demonstrate, for the first time, that at least some amnesic patients are able to significantly improve performance in a visual hyperacuity task as a result of training, showing improvement as good as the observers in the control group. This result corroborates the notion of a relatively 'front end' location of at least some forms of perceptual learning.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amnesia / diagnosis
  • Amnesia / physiopathology*
  • Cerebral Infarction / diagnosis
  • Cerebral Infarction / physiopathology
  • Diencephalon / physiopathology*
  • Discrimination Learning / physiology
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Korsakoff Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Korsakoff Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Mental Recall / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Orientation / physiology
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology
  • Practice, Psychological
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Thalamic Diseases / diagnosis
  • Thalamic Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Visual Acuity / physiology