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New paper!

  • September 17, 2021

Mahyar Firouzi recently published a new paper! 


Mahyar Firouzi, Kris Baetens, Eva Swinnen, Catalina Duta, Chris Baeken, Frank Van Overwalle, Natacha Deroost

Objective: Various studies investigated implicit sequence learning in Parkinson's disease (PD) by means of the traditional motor Serial Reaction Time (SRT) task and found a general pattern of impaired sequence learning. However, as perceptual and motor sequences of the SRT-task were correlated in previous studies, implicit sequential knowledge acquisition that is tested independently from motor sequences remains to be determined in PD. In this study, we investigated implicit sequence learning independently from motor sequence learning in individuals with PD. To this end, we used a perceptual SRT-task that did not rely upon sequential motor knowledge. 

Method: We measured response times (RTs) of 19 participants with PD (Hoehn & Yahr II or III; mean age 65) and 18 age-matched healthy controls (HC; mean age 61.5) in a perceptual SRT-task. General learning effects and sequence-specific learning effects were analyzed using repeated measures ANOVAs. 

Results: A significant decreasing linear trend (p < .001) in RTs was revealed in both the PD and HC groups as the SRT-task progressed, indicating general learning effects. Notably, a significant, strong main effect of sequence-specific learning occurred (p < .001), irrespective of group (p = .436). Sequence-specific learning did not differ significantly between the PD (M = 156.5 ms; SD = 50.7) and HC group (M = 173.0 ms; SD = 104.2). Bayesian analyses confirmed this as evidence of absence of an effect (B₁₀ = 3.543). 

Conclusions: Our results suggest that, at least in Hoehn & Yahr stages II and III, implicit sequential knowledge acquisition may be preserved in individuals with PD, when tested independently from motor sequence learning.

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