ERIC Number: EJ894240
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Aug
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Rule-Based and Information-Integration Category Learning in Normal Aging
Maddox, W. Todd; Pacheco, Jennifer; Reeves, Maia; Zhu, Bo; Schnyer, David M.
Neuropsychologia, v48 n10 p2998-3008 Aug 2010
The basal ganglia and prefrontal cortex play critical roles in category learning. Both regions evidence age-related structural and functional declines. The current study examined rule-based and information-integration category learning in a group of older and younger adults. Rule-based learning is thought to involve explicit, frontally mediated processes, whereas information-integration is thought to involve implicit, striatally mediated processes. As a group, older adults showed rule-based and information-integration deficits. A series of models were applied that provided insights onto the type of strategy used to solve the task. Interestingly, when the analyses focused only on participants who used the task appropriate strategy in the final block of trials, the age-related rule-based deficit disappeared whereas the information-integration deficit remained. For this group of individuals, the final block information-integration deficit was due to less consistent application of the task appropriate strategy by older adults, and over the course of learning these older adults shifted from an explicit hypothesis-testing strategy to the task appropriate strategy later in learning. In addition, the use of the task appropriate strategy was associated with less interference and better inhibitory control for rule-based and information-information learning, whereas use of the task appropriate strategy was associated with greater working memory and better new verbal learning only for the rule-based task. These results suggest that normal aging impacts both forms of category learning and that there are some important similarities and differences in the explanatory locus of these deficits. The data also support a two-component model of information-integration category learning that includes a striatal component that mediated procedural-based learning, and a prefrontal cortical component that mediates the transition from hypothesis-testing to procedural-based strategies. Implications for independent vs. interactive category learning systems are discussed.
Descriptors: Learning Processes, Older Adults, Short Term Memory, Brain Hemisphere Functions, Aging (Individuals), Role, Cognitive Processes, Young Adults, Task Analysis, Inhibition, Classification, Learning Strategies
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A