Learning strategies in amnesia

Previous research suggests that early performance of amnesic individuals in a probabilistic category learning task is relatively unimpaired. When combined with impaired declarative knowledge, this is taken as evidence for the existence of separate implicit and explicit memory systems. The present study contains a more fine-grained analysis of learning than earlier studies. Using a dynamic lens model approach with plausible learning models, we found that the learning process is indeed indistinguishable between an amnesic and control group. However, in contrast to earlier findings, we found that explicit knowledge of the task structure is also good in both the amnesic and the control group. This is inconsistent with a crucial prediction from the multiple-systems account. The results can be explained from a single system account and previously found differences in later categorization performance can be accounted for by a difference in learning rate.
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