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Learning to predict is spared in mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer's disease.

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Baker, Rosalind 
Bentham, Peter 


Learning the statistics of the environment is critical for predicting upcoming events. However, little is known about how we translate previous knowledge about scene regularities to sensory predictions. Here, we ask whether patients with mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer's disease (MCI-AD) that are known to have spared implicit but impaired explicit recognition memory are able to learn temporal regularities and predict upcoming events. We tested the ability of MCI-AD patients and age-matched controls to predict the orientation of a test stimulus following exposure to sequences of leftwards or rightwards oriented gratings. Our results demonstrate that exposure to temporal sequences without feedback facilitates the ability to predict an upcoming stimulus in both MCI-AD patients and controls. Further, we show that executive cognitive control may account for individual variability in predictive learning. That is, we observed significant positive correlations of performance in attentional and working memory tasks with post-training performance in the prediction task. Taken together, these results suggest a mediating role of circuits involved in cognitive control (i.e. frontal circuits) that may support the ability for predictive learning in MCI-AD.



Attention, Memory, Sensory predictions, Sequence learning, Aged, Alzheimer Disease, Anticipation, Psychological, Cognitive Dysfunction, Executive Function, Female, Humans, Learning, Male, Middle Aged, Pattern Recognition, Visual

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Exp Brain Res

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Leverhulme Trust (RF-2011-378)
European Commission (290011)
This work was supported by grants to PB from Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust Research and Development, and to ZK from the Leverhulme Trust [RF-2011-378] and the [European Community's] Seventh Framework Programme [FP7/2007-2013] under agreement PITN-GA-2011-290011.