Implicit learning of non-spatial sequences in schizophrenia

Cherie L. Marvel, Barbara L. Schwatz, Darlene V. Howard, James H. Howard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Recent studies have reported abnormal implicit learning of sequential patterns in patients with schizophrenia. Because these studies were based on visuospatial cues, the question remained whether patients were impaired simply due to the demands of spatial processing. This study examined implicit sequence learning in 24 patients with schizophrenia and 24 healthy controls using a non-spatial variation of the serial reaction time test (SRT) in which pattern stimuli alternated with random stimuli on every other trial. Both groups showed learning by responding faster and more accurately to pattern trials than to random trials. Patients, however, showed a smaller magnitude of sequence learning. Both groups were unable to demonstrate explicit knowledge of the nature of the pattern, confirming that learning occurred without awareness. Clinical variables were not correlated with the patients' learning deficits. Patients with schizophrenia have a decreased ability to develop sensitivity to regularly occurring sequences of events within their environment. This type of deficit may affect an array of cognitive and motor functions that rely on the perception of event regularity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)659-667
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - Oct 2005


  • Behavior
  • Cognition
  • Memory
  • Motor skills
  • Psychiatry
  • Serial learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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