Parallel brain systems for learning with and without awareness.

P. J. Reber*, L. R. Squire

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

190 Scopus citations


A fundamental issue about memory and its different forms is whether learning can occur without the development of conscious knowledge of what is learned. Amnesic patients and control subjects performed a serial reaction time task, exhibiting equivalent learning of an imbedded repeating sequence as measured by gradually improving reaction times. In contrast, four tests of declarative (explicit) knowledge indicated that the amnesic patients were unaware of their knowledge. Moreover, after taking the tests of declarative memory, all subjects continued to demonstrate tacit knowledge of the repeating sequence. This dissociation between declarative and nondeclarative knowledge indicates that the parallel brain systems supporting learning and memory differ in their capacity for affording awareness of what is learned.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-229
Number of pages13
JournalLearning & memory (Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.)
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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