Procedural learning deficit in children with Williams syndrome

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The present study was aimed at evaluating implicit memory processes in subjects with Williams syndrome (WS) and comparing them to mental-age (MA) matched normal children. For this purpose, tests of verbal and visuo-perceptual explicit memory, verbal and visual repetition priming as well as procedural learning tasks were administered to 12 WS and 12 MA matched subjects. WS subjects showed a level of repetition priming similar to that of MA normal controls. In contrast, WS children showed a reduced learning rate in the two procedural tasks. Although deficient explicit memory and executive dysfunction cannot be excluded from the performance of WS subjects, these results suggest a specific deficit of procedural learning in this particular group of mentally retarded children. This finding is relevant for our knowledge about the qualitative aspects of the anomalous cognitive development in mentally retarded people and the neurobiological substrate underlying this development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)665-677
Number of pages13
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Implicit learning
  • Memory
  • Mental retardation
  • Williams syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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