Verbal selective learning after traumatic brain injury in children

Ann Neurol. 2004 Dec;56(6):847-53. doi: 10.1002/ana.20298.


Selective learning (SL), the ability to select items to learn from among other items, engages cognitive control, which is purportedly mediated by the frontal cortex and its circuitry. Using incentive-based auditory word recall and expository discourse tasks, we studied the efficiency of SL in children ages 6 to 16 years who had sustained severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) at least 1 year earlier. We hypothesized that SL would be compromised by severe TBI. Results indicated that children with severe TBI performed significantly worse than age-matched typically developing children on word- and discourse-level measures of SL efficiency with no significant group differences in number of items recalled from auditory word lists or declarative facts. We conclude that severe TBI disrupts incentive-based cognitive control processes, possibly due to involvement of frontal neural networks.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation / methods*
  • Adolescent
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Male
  • Reinforcement, Verbal*