We evaluated a 23 year-old man after recovery from encephalitis. In contrast to the expected pattern of increasingly better acquisition across the 5 learning trials of the California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT-2), he produced a "J-shaped" curve (Trials 1-5: 8,6,6,9,11). Because he also demonstrated excessive levels of proactive interference as well as poor divided attention, we hypothesized that his atypical learning pattern was due to a build-up of proactive interference secondary to executive dyscontrol. Using a large sample of 4462 healthy adult men, we identified four groups exhibiting various learning patterns. We found that a learning pattern similar to this patient (i.e., a drop after trial 1 followed by recovery) was rare (1.1% of the sample). Individuals with this learning pattern demonstrated increased perseverative responses, as well as greater difficulty maintaining cognitive set on the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, decreased attentional control on the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test, and greater levels of proactive interference on the CVLT. Taken together, the results of the study suggest that an early drop, followed by a recovery in learning trial performance, is associated with executive dyscontrol.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology|
|State||Published - Oct 1 2006|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Psychology
- Clinical Neurology