Cerebellum and procedural learning: Evidence from focal cerebellar lesions

Marco Molinari, Maria G. Leggio, Alessandra Solida, Roberto Ciorra, Sandro Misciagna, Maria C. Silveri, Laura Petrosini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of the present study was to investigate the influence of focal cerebellar lesions on procedural learning. Eight patients with cerebellar lesions and six control subjects were tested in a serial reaction-time cask. A four-choice reaction-time task was employed in which the stimuli followed (or not) a sequence repeated 10 times, with the subjects aware (or not) of the item sequence. Learning was manifested by the reduction in response latency over the sequential blocks. Acquisition of declarative knowledge of the sequence was also tested. Reaction times displayed by patients with cerebellar lesions, even though they tended to be longer than those of control subjects in all testing conditions, significantly differed from control subjects only when the stimuli were presented in sequence. The reaction times in sequential trials were still statistically significant when simple motor response times were taken into account. Cerebellar patients were also significantly impaired in detecting and repenting the sequence. On the other hand, when the sequence was learned before testing, motor performances were significantly improved in all subjects. These data indicate that cerebellar lesions induce specific impairment in the procedural learning of a motor sequence and suggest a role of the cerebellar circuitry in detecting and recognizing event sequences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1753-1762
Number of pages10
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1997


  • Implicit memory
  • Lesion studies
  • Man
  • Serial reaction-time task

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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