Declarative and procedural learning in children and adolescents with posterior fossa tumours
Quintero-Gallego, Eliana A.
Gómez, Carlos M.
Vaquero Casares, Encarnación
Pérez-Santamaría, Fco Javier
Behavioral and Brain Functions, 1744-9081, Vol. 2, 2006, p. 1-9
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This quasi-experimental study was designed to assess two important learning types – procedural and declarative – in children and adolescents affected by posterior fossa tumours (astrocytoma vs. medulloblastoma), given that memory has an important impact on the child's academic achievement and personal development. We had three groups: two clinical (eighteen subjects) and one control (twelve subjects). The learning types in these groups were assessed by two experimental tasks evaluating procedural-implicit and declarative memory. A Serial Reaction-Time Task was used to measure procedural sequence learning, and the Spanish version  of the California Verbal Learning Test-Children's Version- CVLT-  to measure declarative-explicit learning. The learning capacity was assessed considering only the blocks that represent learning, and were compared with MANOVA in clinical and normal subjects. The Raven, simple reaction-time, finger-tapping test, and grooved pegboard tests were used to assess the overall functioning of subjects. The results were compared with those from a control group of the same age, and with Spanish norm-referenced tools where available. The results indicate the absence of procedural-implicit learning in both clinical groups, whereas declarative-explicit learning is maintained in both groups. The clinical groups showed a conservation of declarative learning and a clear impairment of procedural learning. The results support the role of the cerebellum in the early phase of procedural learning.
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