Task-specific contribution of the human striatum to perceptual-motor skill learning

J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 2011 Jan;33(1):51-62. doi: 10.1080/13803395.2010.493144. Epub 2010 Jul 5.


Acquisition of new perceptual-motor skills depends on multiple brain areas, including the striatum. However, the specific contribution of each structure to this type of learning is still poorly understood. Focusing on the striatum, we proposed (a) to replicate the finding of impaired rotary pursuit (RP) and preserved mirror tracing (MT) in Huntington's disease (HD); and (b) to further explore this putative learning dissociation with other human models of striatal dysfunction (i.e., Parkinson's disease and focal vascular damage) and two new paradigms (i.e., Geometric Figures, GF, and Control Stick, CS) of skill learning. Regardless of the etiology, participants with damage to the striatum showed impaired learning of visuomotor tracking skills (i.e., RP and GF), whereas the ability to learn skills that require motor adaptation (i.e., MT and CS) was not affected. These results suggest a task-specific involvement of the striatum in the early stages of skill learning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain Injuries / pathology
  • Corpus Striatum / pathology
  • Corpus Striatum / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Huntington Disease / pathology
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Motor Skills Disorders / etiology
  • Motor Skills Disorders / pathology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology
  • Perception / physiology*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Verbal Learning / physiology