Verbal learning strategy following mild traumatic brain injury

Elizabeth K. Geary, Marilyn F. Kraus, Leah H. Rubin, Neil H. Pliskin, Deborah M. Little

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


That learning and memory deficits persist many years following mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is controversial due to inconsistent objective evidence supporting subjective complaints. Our prior work demonstrated significant reductions in performance on the initial trial of a verbal learning task and overall slower rate of learning in well-motivated mTBI participants relative to demographically matched controls. In our previous work, we speculated that differences in strategy use could explain the differences in rate of learning. The current study serves to test this hypothesis by examining strategy use on the California Verbal Learning Test-Second Edition. Our present findings support the primary hypothesis that mTBI participants under-utilize semantic clustering strategies during list-learning relative to control participants. Despite achieving comparable total learning scores, we posit that the persisting learning and memory difficulties reported by some mTBI patients may be related to reduced usage of efficient internally driven strategies that facilitate learning. Given that strategy training has demonstrated improvements in learning and memory in educational and occupational settings, we offer that these findings have translational value in offering an additional approach in remediation of learning and memory complaints reported by some following mTBI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)709-719
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain/behavior relationships
  • Cognition
  • Concussion
  • Executive functions
  • Post-concussive syndrome
  • Semantic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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