Declarative and procedural learning in children and adolescents with posterior fossa tumours




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 [1] of the California Verbal Learning Test-Children's Version- CVLT- [2] 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.

Palabras clave


Medulloblastoma, Clinical Group, Procedural Learning, Declarative Memory, Posterior Fossa Tumour


Pruebas de memoria y aprendizaje
Neoplasias infratentoriales