The medial temporal (MT) lobes and basal ganglia have both been implicated as brain substrates of associative learning. Here, we show a dissociation between medial temporal and basal ganglia damage using a latent learning task, in which prior exposure to cues, uncorrelated with each other, slows subsequent learning of an association between them. Consistent with prior work, we found a robust exposure effect in healthy controls, with exposed controls learning more slowly than non-exposed controls. This effect was abolished in medial temporal amnesia: both exposed and non-exposed amnesic patients learned at the same speed. A group of patients with basal ganglia damage due to Parkinson's disease showed a reversal of the effect: exposed subjects learned faster than non-exposed subjects. Our findings point to distinct and dissociable contributions of medial temporal lobe and basal ganglia structures to learning and memory.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Behavioral Neuroscience
- Learned irrelevance
- Parkinson's disease
- Perceptual learning