Impaired higher order implicit sequence learning on the verbal version of the serial reaction time task in patients with Parkinson's disease

Neuropsychology. 2004 Oct;18(4):679-91. doi: 10.1037/0894-4105.18.4.679.


Although neuroimaging studies have strongly implicated basal ganglia involvement in implicit sequence learning, serial reaction time (SRT) studies with Parkinson's disease (PD) patients have yielded mixed results. The present research sought to examine the ability of people with PD to implicitly learn sequences with different sequential structures and to objectively assess explicit knowledge. A version of the SRT task that reduces motor demands was used to compare 19 patients with PD but not dementia and 37 matched controls. PD patients showed less implicit sequence-specific learning for both sequences and reduced response time improvement over sequential trials for the more complex sequence. A closer examination revealed that the deficit involved higher order sequential associations as well as the learning of pairwise information.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning Disabilities / etiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology*
  • Serial Learning / physiology*
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Verbal Learning / physiology*