Three experiments investigated the aging of implicit spatial and spatiotemporal context learning in 2 tasks. In contextual cuing, people learn to use repeated spatial configurations to facilitate search for a target, whereas in higher order serial learning, they learn to use subtle sequence regularities to respond more quickly and accurately to a series of events. Results reveal a dissociation; overall contextual cuing is spared in healthy aging, whereas higher order sequence learning is impaired in the same individuals. This finding suggests that these 2 forms of implicit learning rely on different neural substrates that age differently; the results are also consistent with recent evidence that fronto-striatal circuits are particularly susceptible to decline in health aging.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology