Sequence skill learning and semantic priming in schizophrenia. Evidence for a differential impairment of the implicit memory system

S. Bressi, L. Miele, C. Bressi, A. Vita, S. Astori, E. Gimosti, A. D. Linciano, M. Sessini, A. Sferlazza, V. Zirulia, G. Invernizzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Little is today known about the integrity of the various components of the implicit memory system in schizophrenia. In this study, twenty clinically defined chronic schizophrenic patients with a recognized deficit of explicit memory underwent implicit memory tasks the successful performance of which depends on the integrity of different neural networks, including the frontal lobe, the basal ganglia and the temporal and occipital lobes. Comparisons between chronic schizophrenic patients and normal controls yielded the following results: (a) patients showed normal priming effects in word stem completion tasks despite their recognition deficit in the explicit memory tasks; (b) patients were impaired on sequence-specific procedural learning in a visuo-motor tacking task whereas the procedural learning linked to non sequence-specific strategies appeared spared. The defect of patients in sequence-specific procedural learning was associated with their ability in frontal function tests and with the level of negative symptoms scores on the SANS scale. The failure of schizophrenic patients to acquire novel procedural abilities can be understood through a task analysis and may reflect an underlying deficit in the generation and monitoring of goal-directed action needed for fast and accurate performance even when applied to factual information learned in an implicit way.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-188
Number of pages10
JournalNew Trends in Experimental and Clinical Psychiatry
Volume14
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1998

Keywords

  • Implicit memory
  • Schizophrenia
  • Semantic priming
  • Skill learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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