Predictive value and reward in implicit classification learning

Authors

  • Judith M. Lam,

    1. Clinical Neurorehabilitation, Department of Neurology, University of Zürich and Rehabilitation Initiative and Technology Center of Zürich (RITZ), Zürich, Switzerland
    2. Center of Neurology and Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany
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    • Judith M. Lam and Tobias Wächter contributed equally to this work.

  • Tobias Wächter,

    1. Center of Neurology and Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany
    2. German Center of Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Tübingen, Germany
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    • Judith M. Lam and Tobias Wächter contributed equally to this work.

  • Christoph Globas,

    1. Clinical Neurorehabilitation, Department of Neurology, University of Zürich and Rehabilitation Initiative and Technology Center of Zürich (RITZ), Zürich, Switzerland
    2. Robert-Bosch-Krankenhaus, Klinik für geriatrische Rehabilitation, Stuttgart, Germany
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  • Hans-Otto Karnath,

    1. Section of Neuropsychology, Center of Neurology, Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany
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  • Andreas R. Luft

    Corresponding author
    1. Clinical Neurorehabilitation, Department of Neurology, University of Zürich and Rehabilitation Initiative and Technology Center of Zürich (RITZ), Zürich, Switzerland
    • Department of Neurology, University of Zürich, Frauenklinikstrasse 26, 8091 Zürich, Switzerland
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Abstract

Learning efficacy depends on its emotional context. The contents learned and the feedback received during training tinges this context. The objective here was to investigate the influence of content and feedback on the efficacy of implicit learning and to explore using functional imaging how these factors are processed in the brain. Twenty-one participants completed 150 trials of a probabilistic classification task (predicting sun or rain based on combinations of playing cards). Smileys or frowneys were presented as feedback. In 10 of these subjects, the task was performed during functional magnetic resonance imaging. Card combinations predicting sun were remembered better than those predicting rain. Similarly, positive feedback fortified learning more than negative feedback. The presentation of smileys recruited bilateral nucleus accumbens, sensorimotor cortex, and posterior cingulum more than negative feedback did. The higher the predictive value of a card combination, the more activation was found in the lateral cerebellum. Both context and feedback influence implicit classification learning. Similar to motor skill acquisition, positive feedback during classification learning is processed in part within the sensorimotor cortex, potentially reflecting the activation of a dopaminergic projection to motor cortex (Hosp et al., 2011). Activation of the lateral cerebellum during learning of combinations with high predictive value may reflect the formation of an internal model. Hum Brain Mapp, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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