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Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society

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Abstract/ Summary

In comparison to the basal ganglia, prefrontal cortex, and medial temporal lobes, the cerebellum has been absent from recent research on the neural substrates of categorization and identification, two prominent tasks in the learning and memory literature. To investigate the contribution of the cerebellum to these tasks, we tested patients with cerebellar pathology (seven with bilateral degeneration, six with unilateral lesions, and two with midline damage) on rule-based and information-integration categorization tasks and an identification task. In rule-based tasks, it is assumed that participants learn the categories through an explicit reasoning process. In information-integration tasks, optimal performance requires the integration of information from multiple stimulus dimensions, and participants are typically unaware of the decision strategy. The identification task, in contrast, required participants to learn arbitrary, color-word associations. The cerebellar patients performed similar to matched controls on all three tasks and performance did not vary with the extent of cerebellar pathology. Although the interpretation of these null results requires caution, these data contribute to the current debate on cerebellar contributions to cognition by providing boundary conditions on understanding the neural substrates of categorization and identification, and help define the functional domain of the cerebellum in learning and memory.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Ell, S.W., & Ivry, R.B. (2008). Cerebellar Pathology Does Not Impair Performance on Identification or Categorization Tasks. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 14, 760-770. Available on publisher's site at

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Copyright 2008 Cambridge University Press




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