Which processes are involved in cognitive procedural learning?

Memory. 2006 Jul;14(5):521-39. doi: 10.1080/09658210500477766.


Procedural memory is characterised by a relative resistance to pathology, making its assessment of the utmost importance. However, few studies have looked at the cognitive processes involved in cognitive procedural learning. In an initial experiment, we studied the role of different cognitive functions in massed cognitive procedural learning. Our results confirmed the existence of three separate learning phases and, for the first time, demonstrated the involvement of episodic memory and executive functions in the first learning phase. In a second experiment, we studied the effect of distributed learning conditions on the dynamics of procedural learning. This second study confirmed our results but showed that these conditions slow down the process of cognitive procedural learning. Our overall findings call into question the status of functionally autonomous memory system that is currently allotted to procedural memory, and suggest that the role of nonprocedural cognitive components should be taken into account in patient rehabilitation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Association Learning
  • Cognition*
  • Color Perception
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence
  • Learning*
  • Male
  • Memory
  • Memory, Short-Term
  • Middle Aged
  • Principal Component Analysis / methods
  • Psychological Tests
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Visual Perception