Oral Communication

Implicit learning of perceptual-motor skills

Prof Thierry MEULEMANSa

a Université de Liège

Implicit learning refers to the mechanisms involved in the detection and the integration, without explicit awareness, of the regularities present in our environment. Research on implicit learning has develop independently of studies on procedural skill learning, the latter being generally described as involving the intervention (at least during the initial learning phases) of controlled executive processes. But it appears that, under certain conditions, learning of new perceptual-motor skills can take place independently of the intervention of declarative mechanisms, and that it can correspond to the situations described in studies exploring the implicit learning mechanisms. We will illustrate the similarities between the two research fields through the example of sequence-learning tasks on the one hand, and of motor adaptation tasks on the other hand. We will also show the limits of a conception based on the implicit/explicit dichotomy, and will underline the need to identify the conditions which, taking into account the patients’ deficits (and their preserved abilities), enable or facilitate skill automation.

Keywords : implicit learning, procedural memory