Implicit Spatial Contextual Learning in Healthy Aging

James H. Howard, Nancy A. Dennis, Darlene V. Howard, Helen Yankovich, Chandan J. Vaidya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Three experiments investigated the aging of implicit spatial and spatiotemporal context learning in 2 tasks. In contextual cuing, people learn to use repeated spatial configurations to facilitate search for a target, whereas in higher order serial learning, they learn to use subtle sequence regularities to respond more quickly and accurately to a series of events. Results reveal a dissociation; overall contextual cuing is spared in healthy aging, whereas higher order sequence learning is impaired in the same individuals. This finding suggests that these 2 forms of implicit learning rely on different neural substrates that age differently; the results are also consistent with recent evidence that fronto-striatal circuits are particularly susceptible to decline in health aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)124-134
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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