eISSN: 2084-9885
ISSN: 1896-6764
Neuropsychiatria i Neuropsychologia/Neuropsychiatry and Neuropsychology
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vol. 9

Review article
Paradigms of procedural learning – a review of selected methods

Adrian Andrzej Chrobak
Anna Tereszko
Szymon Jeziorko
Marcin Siwek
Dominika Dudek

Neuropsychiatria i Neuropsychologia 2014; 9, 2: 62–70
Online publish date: 2014/10/14
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Procedural learning involves the acquisition of new skills or knowledge on how to perform specific tasks. Evaluation of procedural learning is part of neuropsychological and neuropsychiatric diagnosis. Deficits observed in such diagnosis can be the basis for the inference of structural and functional brain disorders. The classic division of skills acquired during procedural learning includes four types: cognitive, perceptual, motor and visuo-motor skills. Most of the tests examine cognitive and visuo-motor skills. This study focuses on the two latter types of skills, the acquisition of which is generally known as motor learning. In natural conditions motor learning occurs as both an implicit and explicit process, depending on its phase. However, paradigms used for diagnostic purposes assume that motor learning is an implicit process. This article provides an overview of the most popular tools used for the assessment of implicit motor learning as part of the neuropsychological and neuropsychiatric diagnosis. Tasks listed here often have decades-long history of use that resulted in significant changes in both the tasks’ design – now performed most often on a computer – as well as the areas of their use in the scientific and clinical field. The paper presents three tasks: a mirror-drawing task, a pursuit rotor task and a serial reaction time task, with a description of the methods, their applications, limitations and neurobiological basis. The mirror-drawing task and pursuit rotor task can also be used as good tools to assess visual-motor coordination.

motor learning, mirror-tracing task, pursuit rotor task, serial reaction time task

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