Brain Networks of Explicit and Implicit Learning

Jing Yang, Ping Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Are explicit versus implicit learning mechanisms reflected in the brain as distinct neural structures, as previous research indicates, or are they distinguished by brain networks that involve overlapping systems with differential connectivity? In this functional MRI study we examined the neural correlates of explicit and implicit learning of artificial grammar sequences. Using effective connectivity analyses we found that brain networks of different connectivity underlie the two types of learning: while both processes involve activation in a set of cortical and subcortical structures, explicit learners engage a network that uses the insula as a key mediator whereas implicit learners evoke a direct frontal-striatal network. Individual differences in working memory also differentially impact the two types of sequence learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere42993
JournalPloS one
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 31 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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