Learning implicitly: Effects of task and severity after stroke

Lara A. Boyd, Barbara M. Quaney, Patricia S. Pohl, Carolee J. Winstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Background. Disparate results have been reported on the implicit learning ability of adults with stroke. Objective. This study aimed to elucidate the relationships between stroke sever- ity and the task employed to test implicit motor learning. Methods. Twenty-eight patients with chronic stroke were divided according to stroke severity using the Orpington prog- nostic score into those with mild (n = 16, score < 3.2) or mod- erate stroke (n = 12, score 3.2-5.0). Seventeen healthy individuals served as matched controls (HC). All participants practiced 2 implicit learning tasks, the Serial Reaction Time (SRT) and Serial Hand Movement (SHM). Results. A group-by- task-by-block interaction (P = .000) demonstrated differences across the experimental factors. Post hoc analyses revealed dif- ferences between groups and tasks. Greater change in the speed of responding was exhibited for the SHM than the SRT task by the HC and mild groups; however, the moderate group did not demonstrate a between-task difference. Conclusion. Both stroke severity and motor task influenced the magnitude of implicit learning across acquisition, which suggests for the first time that different tasks may yield disparate implicit learning outcomes in the same population. Additionally, the impact of stroke severity may be important when assessing residual implicit motor learning capability. The combination of these 2 factors helps explain previously reported contradictory findings and may inform future studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)444-454
Number of pages11
JournalNeurorehabilitation and Neural Repair
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Human
  • Implicit learning
  • Motor
  • Stroke
  • Stroke severity
  • Task

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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