Cortico-striatal contributions to category learning: Dissociating the verbal and implicit systems

Amanda L. Price, Elizabethtown College


To better characterize the neuropsychological mechanisms of implicit and verbalizable category learning, the author studied weather prediction task (WPT) and information integration task (IIT) performance in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) and healthy older and younger adults. Both older adults and patients with PD were impaired on the WPT, but only patients were impaired on the IIT, suggesting the 2 tasks rely on dissociable systems. Whereas the IIT appeared to rely on implicit processes, results suggest WPT classification depends on explicit processes. Awareness of underlying structure, hypothesis testing ability, and working memory capacity were all related to accuracy on the WPT but not the IIT. The variability commonly noted in WPT performance may reflect individual differences in hypothesis testing ability. Copyright 2005 by the American Psychological Association.