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  1. Abstract ADHD has been associated with cortico-striatal dysfunction that may lead to procedural memory abnormalities. Sleep plays a critical role in consolidating procedural memories, and sleep problems are an integral part of the psychopathology of ADHD. This raises the possibility that altered sleep processes characterizing those with ADHD could contribute to their skill-learning impairments. On this basis, the present study tested the hypothesis that young adults with ADHD have altered sleep-dependent procedural memory consolidation. Participants with ADHD and neurotypicals were trained on a visual discrimination task that has been shown to benefit from sleep. Half of the participants were tested after a 12-h break that included nocturnal sleep (sleep condition), whereas the other half were tested after a 12-h daytime break that did not include sleep (wakefulness condition) to assess the specific contribution of sleep to improvement in task performance. Despite having a similar degree of initial learning, participants with ADHD did not improve in the visual discrimination task following a sleep interval compared to neurotypicals, while they were on par with neurotypicals during the wakefulness condition. These findings represent the first demonstration of a failure in sleep-dependent consolidation of procedural learning in young adults with ADHD. Such a failuremore »is likely to disrupt automatic control routines that are normally provided by the non-declarative memory system, thereby increasing the load on attentional resources of individuals with ADHD.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  3. Statistical learning (SL), the ability to pick up patterns in sensory input, serves as one of the building blocks of language acquisition. Although SL has been studied extensively in developmental dyslexia (DD), much less is known about the way SL evolves over time. The handful of studies examining this question were all limited to the acquisition of motor sequential knowledge or highly learned segmented linguistic units. Here we examined memory consolidation of statistical regularities in adults with DD and typically developed (TD) readers by using auditory SL requiring the segmentation of units from continuous input, which represents one of the earliest learning challenges in language acquisition. DD and TD groups were exposed to tones in a probabilistically determined sequential structure varying in difficulty and subsequently tested for recognition of novel short sequences that adhered to this statistical pattern in immediate and delayed-recall sessions separated by a night of sleep. SL performance of the DD group at the easy and hard difficulty levels was poorer than that of the TD group in the immediate-recall session. Importantly, DD participants showed a significant overnight deterioration in SL performance at the medium difficulty level compared to TD, who instead showed overnight stabilization of themore »learned information. These findings imply that SL difficulties in DD may arise not only from impaired initial learning but also due to a failure to consolidate statistically structured information into long-term memory. We hypothesize that these deficits disrupt the typical course of language acquisition in those with DD.« less
  4. The environment provides multiple regularities that might be useful in guiding behavior if one was able to learn their structure. Understanding statistical learning across simultaneous regularities is important, but poorly understood. We investigate learning across two domains: visuomotor sequence learning through the serial reaction time (SRT) task, and incidental auditory category learning via the systematic multimodal association reaction time (SMART) task. Several commonalities raise the possibility that these two learning phenomena may draw on common cognitive resources and neural networks. In each, participants are unin- formed of the regularities that they come to use to guide actions, the outcomes of which may provide a form of internal feedback. We used dual-task conditions to compare learning of the regularities in isolation versus when they are simultaneously available to support behavior on a seemingly orthogonal visuomotor task. Learning occurred across the simultaneous regularities, without attenuation even when the informational value of a regularity was reduced by the presence of the additional, convergent regularity. Thus, the simultaneous regularities do not compete for associative strength, as in overshadowing effects. Moreover, the visuomotor sequence learning and incidental auditory category learning do not appear to compete for common cognitive resources; learning across the simultaneous regularities wasmore »comparable to learning each regularity in isolation.« less
  5. Category learning is fundamental to cognition, but little is known about how it proceeds in real-world environments when learners do not have instructions to search for category-relevant information, do not make overt category decisions, and do not experience direct feedback. Prior research demonstrates that listeners can acquire task-irrelevant auditory categories incidentally as they engage in primarily visuomotor tasks. The current study examines the factors that support this incidental category learning. Three experiments systematically manipulated the relationship of four novel auditory categories with a consistent visual feature (color or location) that informed a simple behavioral keypress response regarding the visual feature. In both an in-person experiment and two online replications with extensions, incidental auditory category learning occurred reliably when category exemplars consistently aligned with visuomotor demands of the primary task, but not when they were misaligned. The presence of an additional irrelevant visual feature that was uncorrelated with the primary task demands neither enhanced nor harmed incidental learning. By contrast, incidental learning did not occur when auditory categories were aligned consistently with one visual feature, but the motor response in the primary task was aligned with another, category-unaligned visual feature. Moreover, category learning did not reliably occur across passive observation ormore »when participants made a category-nonspecific, generic motor response. These findings show that incidental learning of categories is strongly mediated by the character of coincident behavior.« less
  6. Abstract Objective: Acoustic distortions to the speech signal impair spoken language recognition, but healthy listeners exhibit adaptive plasticity consistent with rapid adjustments in how the distorted speech input maps to speech representations, perhaps through engagement of supervised error-driven learning. This puts adaptive plasticity in speech perception in an interesting position with regard to developmental dyslexia inasmuch as dyslexia impacts speech processing and may involve dysfunction in neurobiological systems hypothesized to be involved in adaptive plasticity. Method: Here, we examined typical young adult listeners ( N = 17), and those with dyslexia ( N = 16), as they reported the identity of native-language monosyllabic spoken words to which signal processing had been applied to create a systematic acoustic distortion. During training, all participants experienced incremental signal distortion increases to mildly distorted speech along with orthographic and auditory feedback indicating word identity following response across a brief, 250-trial training block. During pretest and posttest phases, no feedback was provided to participants. Results: Word recognition across severely distorted speech was poor at pretest and equivalent across groups. Training led to improved word recognition for the most severely distorted speech at posttest, with evidence that adaptive plasticity generalized to support recognition of new tokensmore »not previously experienced under distortion. However, training-related recognition gains for listeners with dyslexia were significantly less robust than for control listeners. Conclusions: Less efficient adaptive plasticity to speech distortions may impact the ability of individuals with dyslexia to deal with variability arising from sources like acoustic noise and foreign-accented speech.« less
  7. A wealth of evidence indicates the existence of a consolidation phase, triggered by and following a practice session, wherein new memory traces relevant to task performance are transformed and honed to represent new knowledge. But, the role of consolidation is not well-understood in category learning and has not been studied at all under incidental category learning conditions. Here, we examined the acquisition, consolidation and retention phases in a visuomotor task wherein auditory category information was available, but not required, to guide detection of an above-threshold visual target across one of four spatial locations. We compared two training conditions: (1) Constant, whereby repeated instances of one exemplar from an auditory category preceded a visual target, predicting its upcoming location; (2) Variable, whereby five distinct category exemplars predicted the visual target. Visual detection speed and accuracy, as well as the performance cost of randomizing the association of auditory category to visual target location, were assessed during online performance, again after a 24-hour delay to assess the expression of delayed gains, and after 10 days to assess retention. Results revealed delayed gains associated with incidental auditory category learning and retention effects for both training conditions. Offline processes can be triggered even for incidentalmore »auditory input and lead to category learning; variability of input can enhance the generation of incidental auditory category learning.« less