Route learning in amnesia: A comparison of trial-and-error and errorless learning in patients with the Korsakoff syndrome
SourceClinical Rehabilitation, 21, 10, (2007), pp. 905-911
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectDCN 1: Perception and Action; DCN 2: Functional Neurogenomics; EBP 1: Determinants of Health and Disease; NCEBP 11: Alzheimer Centre; NCEBP 8: Psychological determinants of chronic illness; UMCN 3.2: Cognitive neurosciences; EBP 1: Determinants of Health and Disease
OBJECTIVE: To examine the errorless learning approach using a procedural memory task (i.e. learning of actual routes) in patients with amnesia, as compared to trial-and-error learning. DESIGN: Counterbalanced self-controlled cases series. SETTING: Psychiatric hospital (Korsakoff clinic). SUBJECTS: A convenience sample of 10 patients with the Korsakoff amnestic syndrome. INTERVENTION: All patients learned a route in four sessions on separate days using an errorless approach and a different route using trial-and-error. MAIN MEASURES: Error rate was scored during route learning and standard neuro-psychological tests were administered (i.e. subtest route recall of the Rivermead Behavioural Memory Test (RBMT) and the Dutch version of the California Verbal Learning Test (VLGT)). RESULTS: A significant learning effect was found in the trial-and-error condition over consecutive sessions (P = 0.006), but no performance difference was found between errorless and trial-and-error learning of the routes. VLGT performance was significantly correlated with a trial-and-error advantage (P < 0.05); no significant correlation was found between the RBMT subtest and the learning conditions. CONCLUSION: Errorless learning was no more successful than trial-and-error learning of a procedural spatial task in patients with the Korsakoff syndrome (severe amnesia).
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