Probabilistic contingency learning with limbic or prefrontal damage

Ptak, Radek; Gutbrod, Klemens; Perrig, Walter J.; Schnider, Armin (2001). Probabilistic contingency learning with limbic or prefrontal damage. Behavioral neuroscience, 115(5), pp. 993-1001. American Psychological Association 10.1037/0735-7044.115.5.993

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AB A fundamental capacity of the human brain is to learn relations (contingencies) between environmental stimuli and the consequences of their occurrence. Some contingencies are probabilistic; that is, they predict an event in some situations but not in all. Animal studies suggest that damage to limbic structures or the prefrontal cortex may disturb probabilistic learning. The authors studied the learning of probabilistic contingencies in amnesic patients with limbic lesions, patients with prefrontal cortex damage, and healthy controls. Across 120 trials, participants learned contingent relations between spatial sequences and a button press. Amnesic patients had learning comparable to that of control subjects but failed to indicate what they had learned. Across the last 60 trials, amnesic patients and control subjects learned to avoid a noncontingent choice better than frontal patients. These results indicate that probabilistic learning does not depend on the brain structures supporting declarative memory.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Psychological and Behavioral Health
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurology

UniBE Contributor:

Gutbrod, Klemens, Perrig, Walter


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




American Psychological Association




Anna Maria Ruprecht Künzli

Date Deposited:

14 Aug 2014 11:15

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:34

Publisher DOI:



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