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Procedural learning: A developmental study of motor sequence learning and probabilistic classification learning in school-aged children

Publication date2015
Abstract

In this study, we investigated motor and cognitive procedural learning in typically developing children aged 8–12 years with a serial reaction time (SRT) task and a probabilistic classification learning (PCL) task. The aims were to replicate and extend the results of previous SRT studies, to investigate PCL in school-aged children, to explore the contribution of declarative knowledge to SRT and PCL performance, to explore the strategies used by children in the PCL task via a mathematical model, and to see whether performances obtained in motor and cognitive tasks correlated. The results showed similar learning effects in the three age groups in the SRT and in the first half of the PCL tasks. Participants did not develop explicit knowledge in the SRT task whereas declarative knowledge of the cue–outcome associations correlated with the performances in the second half of the PCL task, suggesting a participation of explicit knowledge after some time of exposure in PCL. An increasing proportion of the optimal strategy use with increasing age was observed in the PCL task. Finally, no correlation appeared between cognitive and motor performance. In conclusion, we extended the hypothesis of age invariance from motor to cognitive procedural learning, which had not been done previously. The ability to adopt more efficient learning strategies with age may rely on the maturation of the fronto-striatal loops. The lack of correlation between performance in the SRT task and the first part of the PCL task suggests dissociable developmental trajectories within the procedural memory system.

Citation (ISO format)
MAYOR-DUBOIS, Claire et al. Procedural learning: A developmental study of motor sequence learning and probabilistic classification learning in school-aged children. In: Neuropsychology, development, and cognition. Section C, Child neuropsychology, 2015, p. 1–17. doi: 10.1080/09297049.2015.1058347
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ISSN of the journal0929-7049
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