Amnesic patients (n = 8), who have severely impaired declarative memory, learned a probabilistic classification task at the same rate as normal subjects (n = 16) but subsequently were impaired on transfer tests that required flexible use of their task knowledge. A second group of controls (n = 20) rated the questions on the transfer tests according to whether the questions simply reinstated the training conditions or required flexible use of task knowledge. The amnesic patients tended to be impaired on the same items that were rated as requiring indirect or flexible use of knowledge. Thus, control subjects acquired declarative knowledge about the task that could be applied flexibly to the transfer tests. The nondeclarative memory available to amnesic patients was relatively inflexible and available only in conditions that reinstantiated the conditions of training. These findings show that declarative memory has different operating characteristics than nondeclarative memory.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Behavioral Neuroscience