Procedural learning in Parkinson's disease and cerebellar degeneration

A. Pascual‐Leone, J. Grafman*, K. Clark, M. Stewart, S. Massaquoi, J. ‐S Lou, M. Hallett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

364 Scopus citations


We compared procedural learning, translation of procedural knowledge into declarative knowledge, and use of declarative knowledge in age‐matched normal volunteers (n = 30), patients with Parkinson's disease (n = 20), and patients with cerebellar degeneration (n = 15) by using a serial reaction time task. Patients with Parkinson's disease achieved procedural knowledge and used declarative knowledge of the task to improve performance, but they required a larger number of repetitions of the task to translate procedural knowledge into declarative knowledge. Patients with cerebellar degeneration did not show performance improvement due to procedural learning, failed to achieve declarative knowledge, and showed limited use of declarative knowledge of the task to improve their performance. Both basal ganglia and cerebellum are involved in procedural learning, but their roles are different. The normal influence of the basal ganglia on the prefrontal cortex may be required for timely access of information to and from the working memory buffer, while the cerebellum may index and order events in the time domain and be therefore essential for any cognitive functions involving sequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)594-602
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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