References of "Meulemans, Thierry"
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See detailPerceptual andMotor Inhibition in ADHD:Evidence for a specific impairment?
Catale, Corinne ULg; Geurten, Marie ULg; Lejeune et al

in Abstracts book (2013)

Objective: Inhibition, one of the core executive processes in executive functioning (Miyake et al., 2000) is generally not considered as an unitary construct (see for example, Friedman & Miyake, 2004 ... [more ▼]

Objective: Inhibition, one of the core executive processes in executive functioning (Miyake et al., 2000) is generally not considered as an unitary construct (see for example, Friedman & Miyake, 2004; Nassauer & Halperin, 2003). Following the perceptual versus motor dissociation proposed by Nassauer and Halperin (2003), we studied perceptual and motor inhibition in children with AttentionDeficit andHyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Participants and Methods: Sixteen 7-12 years old children with ADHD and 30 matched control children were administered a version of the Conflict Resolution task (Nassauer & Halperin, 2003) adapted for children. In this task, the perceptual inhibition task required the children to respond to the direction of a dog (running towards the left or the right) while ignoring its location (left or right) on a computer screen. In the motor inhibition task, the children had to press a key corresponding to the opposite direction of a centrally running dog. Results: Comparisons analyses of inhibition performances between ADHD children and matched controlled subjects showed that ADHD children performed significantly less accurately for stimulus-stimulus characteristic conflicts (i.e., perceptual inhibition) than for stimulus- response conflicts (i.e., motor inhibition), which suggests a specific impairment in perceptual inhibition in our group of ADHD children. Conclusions: In conclusion, this study supports the presence of two forms of inhibition which can be differentiated and specifically impaired in 7- to 12-year-old ADHD children. [less ▲]

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See detailInterference of a secondary task on procedural learning in children
Lejeune, Caroline ULg; Desmottes, Lise ULg; Catale, Corinne ULg et al

in Belgian Brain Congress 2012: Abstract Book (2012, October 27)

Introduction Procedural learning is generally considered as involving different learning phases, with cognitive resources playing an important role only during the initial learning step. Through repeated ... [more ▼]

Introduction Procedural learning is generally considered as involving different learning phases, with cognitive resources playing an important role only during the initial learning step. Through repeated practice, the skill becomes progressively more automatic and the involvement of controlled cognitive functions is progressively reduced (Anderson, 2000;Doyon and Benali, 2005;Beaunieux et al., 2006). This view has been supported by studies in which the mirror-tracing paradigm was used to evaluate procedural learning, demonstrating the implication of the executive mechanisms in the first phase of perceptuomotor learning (Rouleau, 2002;Brosseau et al., 2007). However, from a developmental perspective, little is known about the progression of learning in procedural tasks, as well as about the role played by the explicit cognitive processes during learning in children. We recently showed that the cognitive mechanisms involved during the procedural task differed between age groups (Lejeune et al., in press). Indeed, we observed that 7-year-old children performed the procedural task in a less controlled fashion than 10-year-olds, who used a more conscious strategy, which permits them to reach better performance levels. The aim of the present study was to confirm the differential implication of explicit mechanisms in procedural learning in children by using a dual-task paradigm. Objective The present study used a dual-task paradigm in order to further investigate the role played by explicit mechanisms during the early and final stages of procedural learning in two ages-groups (7- and 10 year-olds). An auditory interference task was introduced at the beginning and at the end of the procedural learning phase. According to Sun, Merrill, and Peterson (2001), the introduction of an interference task should affect more the explicit processes than the implicit processes, the latter being more automatic. Thus, we predict that performance would be altered by in the dual-task condition only during the first phase of learning, and not during the automation phase. Furthermore, considering that the cognitive mechanisms underlying procedural learning would be different between 7- and 10-year-old children, we predicted that the impact of the dual-task would differ between the two aged-groups: the dual-task condition should affect performance in 10-year-old children but not in the 7-year-old group. Method Seventy-six children were presented with a Mirror Tracing task under single or dual-task conditions. For the Mirror Tracing task, we conformed to the procedure used in previous studies in children (Vicari et al., 2005;Prehn-Kristensen et al., 2009) and we opted for a 5 points star with the double outline of 1 cm. The instruction was to follow the contour of the figure in order to “catch” different picture without leaving the limits of the contour. There were two learning sessions; the task included 10 trials, with a short break (2 min) between trials, and a second 10 trial session was conducted after a one-week delay. In dual-task condition, participants had to perform the procedural learning task while performing at the same time the interference auditory task (which consisted to answer to questions presented continuously). Results Results showed that completion time and accuracy during the mirror tracing task improved with each successive trial in both groups: all children learned the procedural skill regardless of their age and the experimental condition. As predicted, results showed that the impact of the dual-task differed between aged-groups during the first learning phase. While 10-year-old children were significantly slower and less accurate in the dual-task condition than 10-year-old children in the single-task condition, no difference between learning conditions was revealed in the 7-year-old group. Interestingly, at the end of learning (trials 19 and 20), the interference effect had disappeared: there was no impact of the secondary task on procedural performance, whatever the age-group. Discussion In this study, we explored with a dual-task paradigm the role played by explicit mechanisms during the early and final stages of procedural learning in two age-groups (7- and 10 year-olds). During the first learning step, 10-year-old children in the single-task condition used a conscious strategy to perform the task, which permits them to reach better performance levels than 10-year-old children in the dual-task condition (which prevents them from using their controlled cognitive processes). On the contrary, no impact of the interference task was observed in 7-year-old children, who performed the mirror tracing task similarly in the single- and dual-task conditions. This result supports our hypothesis that, in the beginning of a perceptuo-motor learning task, youngest children perform the procedural task in a more implicit fashion comparatively to older children. Thus, while performance of 10-year-old children is congruent with a top-down conception of procedural learning (i.e., performance in the first learning stages would be sustained by high-level explicit mechanisms), this is not the case for youngest children whose explicit mechanisms are not yet mature. So, our results confirm that the involvement of explicit learning mechanisms is not a “necessary condition” for motor skill learning to occur, a point of view supported by the bottom-up skill learning approach which postulates that explicit declarative knowledge is not necessarily associated with procedural skill learning and that the knowledge acquired could be stored in an implicit mode from the beginning of learning (Karmiloff-Smith, 1992;Sun et al., 2001). [less ▲]

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See detailIs there a relationship between perseverations and spatial short-term memory deficits in unilateral neglect?
Wansard, Murielle ULg; Bartolomeo, Paolo; Gillet, Sophie ULg et al

in Abstract Book Belgian Brain Congress (2012, October 27)

Introduction Spatial neglect is a multicomponent syndrome characterized by an inability to orient or to respond to stimuli arising in the hemispace contralateral to a brain lesion. According to many ... [more ▼]

Introduction Spatial neglect is a multicomponent syndrome characterized by an inability to orient or to respond to stimuli arising in the hemispace contralateral to a brain lesion. According to many authors, spatial neglect can be explained by an attentional deficit, and more specifically by a lateral attentional bias towards the right (magnetic attraction) and/or difficulties in disengaging attention from items to the right side. However, attentional theories are not sufficient to explain some behaviors such as revisiting and perseverations. Recently, it has been suggested that revisiting and perseveration behaviors in visual search tasks shown in parietal neglect could be related to impairments in visuo-spatial working memory (Husain et al., 2001; Malhotra et al., 2005; Malhotra, Mannan, Driver, & Husain, 2004). This hypothesis is supported by studies (1) in which a contrast is made between cancellation tasks with and without visual control, the absence of visual feedback increasing left neglect (omissions) and repeated cancellations (perseverations) towards the ipsilesional space, and (2) in which the Corsi test is administrated in a vertical way. However, Ronchi et al. (2009) did not confirm the link between impairments in spatial short-term memory and perseverations. Indeed, these authors found no correlation between perseverations in star cancellation and spatial memory performance in the Corsi test. Nevertheless, they did not use a condition without visual feedback, which is considered as involving more spatial short-term memory than a condition with visual feedback. This methodological choice could explain the lack of relationship between short-term memory and perseverations in the Ronchi et al.’s study. The purpose of our study was to test the hypothesis of a spatial short-term memory deficit being an explanatory factor of perseverations in unilateral neglect. Methods We assessed twenty right-damaged patients suffering from left neglect. Neglect signs were evaluated with the Batterie d’Evaluation de la Négligence (BEN) (Azouvi et al., 2002). Twenty healthy older participants matched for age and sociocultural level served as controls. In order to explore the relationship between perseverations and spatial short-term memory, two different tasks were administrated: a computerized version of the Corsi test and a cancellation task. All tests were computerized and presented on a touchscreen. The subject’s spatial span corresponded to the longest sequence in which at least three out of four sequences were correctly reproduced. The cancellation task consisted of 32 “O” presented in two conditions: with (visible) and without (invisible) visual feedback. Patients were instructed to cancel out all targets only once. The number of omissions and perseverations was calculated for each participant in both conditions. Results Control participants performed better than neglect patients in the Corsi test; eleven neglect patients showed a deficit in spatial short-term memory. In the cancellation tasks, Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed ranks tests highlighted that perseverations and omissions were greater in the invisible condition for each group. In this condition, neglect patients made more omissions and perseverations (all ps <.05) than control subjects, while in the visible condition there was only a significant difference for the omissions. However, spatial short-term memory did not explain perseverations in invisible condition (R² = .17, F(1,18) = 3.66, p = .07). Discussion These findings suggest that a spatial short-term memory deficit cannot be considered as an explanatory factor for the perseveration behavior in unilateral neglect. Moreover, perseverations and omissions were greater in the invisible condition than in the visible one; therefore, the hypothesis of the magnetic attraction is not confirmed either. In the neglect patients’ group, the visual feedback decreases, and even eliminates the neglect symptoms (omissions and perseverations) compared to the invisible condition. In other words, the presence of visual feedback can help patients to explore their visual environment. We propose that, in the invisible condition, difficulties to plan a visual search could exacerbate both omissions and perseverations, leading to recursive search towards the right side of the space and thus promote failure to explore left space. However, further investigations will be necessary to confirm this hypothesis. [less ▲]

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See detailPrevious errorless sequence-learning promotes subsequent SRT performance in patients with Alzheimer's Disease
Schmitz, Xavier ULg; Bier, Nathalie; Joubert, Sven et al

Poster (2012, July 17)

Motor-learning capacities are known to be relatively preserved in Alzheimer's disease (AD), which is crucial in the context of the patient’s autonomy (e.g., Rouleau et al., 2002). However, it is important ... [more ▼]

Motor-learning capacities are known to be relatively preserved in Alzheimer's disease (AD), which is crucial in the context of the patient’s autonomy (e.g., Rouleau et al., 2002). However, it is important to determine the most appropriate techniques for such learning. In AD, implicit or procedural rehabilitation techniques would be more effective to train new skills than explicit or declarative learning methods (van Halteren-van Tilborg, 2007). Maxwell et al. (2001) showed that reducing errors during motor learning minimizes the building of declarative knowledge and would allow implicit knowledge accumulation. If errorless learning induces the formation of an implicit knowledge, this technique appears to be adapted to the learning of a perceptual-motor skill in patients with impaired controlled processes. Very few studies have investigated errorless learning in procedural learning situations, even though some data suggest that errorless learning would be efficient for learning instrumental activities of daily living (e.g., Thivierge et al., 2008). In this study we examined the acquisition of a new perceptual-motor skill in 12 patients with AD and 12 healthy older adults. We compared the impact of two preliminary sequence learning conditions (errorless vs. errorful) on a serial reaction time (SRT) performance. In SRT, the subject must react as quickly as possible to the appearance of a target on a screen by pressing the key corresponding to the position of the stimulus. The effectiveness of learning is demonstrated by a reaction time improvement when the target follows a repeating sequence. For patients with AD, results confirm that the advantage provided by prior learning occurs only in the errorless condition whereas both learning modes improve SRT performance in healthy participants. In conclusion, these results confirm that the errorless learning promotes the development of implicit knowledge and appears to be an effective method for procedural learning in Alzheimer's disease. [less ▲]

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See detailLearning and Error Reproduction in Alzheimer Disease
Wansard, Murielle ULg; Erkès, jérôme; Adam, Stéphane ULg et al

Poster (2012, July 15)

Alzheimer disease (AD) is characterized by an early impairment of explicit memory processes associated to a preservation of implicit memory processes (Fleischman & Gabrieli 1998). Due to the role of ... [more ▼]

Alzheimer disease (AD) is characterized by an early impairment of explicit memory processes associated to a preservation of implicit memory processes (Fleischman & Gabrieli 1998). Due to the role of explicit memory in the suppression of errors during learning, AD patients tend to reproduce automatically (implicitly) errors that occurred during a previous learning (Baddeley & Wilson, 1994). Consequently, errorless learning should be more efficient than a classical “trial-and-error” procedure for AD patients. Indeed, errorless learning decreases the involvement of (impaired) explicit memory by avoiding the interference caused by the production of errors (Bier et al., 2002). The present study investigates the automatic post-learning error production in mild AD patients and matched control subjects by using a word stem completion task (Adam et al., 2005) in conditions of both errorless and trial-and-error learning. Results showed a lower word stem completion performance in mild AD than control subjects, but a similar performance in the patients’ group for the two learning conditions. Moreover, in the trial-and-error procedure, the errors consisted mainly in erroneous responses already produced during the learning phase. In addition, correlation analyses indicate that the ability to suppress errors in the trial-and-error learning condition in mild AD patients is subtended by the efficiency of episodic memory processes, but not by inhibitory abilities. These results suggest that the errorless procedure improves the quality of learning of mild AD patients (production of fewer errors) but do not influence the learning rate per se. [less ▲]

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See detailPROCEDURAL VISUAL LEARNING IN CHILDREN WITH SPECIFIC LANGUAGE IMPAIRMENT
Gabriel, Audrey ULg; Stefaniak, Nicolas ULg; Maillart, Christelle ULg et al

in American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology (2012)

Purpose: According to the Procedural Deficit Hypothesis (PDH), difficulties in the Procedural Learning (PL) system may contribute to the language difficulties observed in children with Specific Language ... [more ▼]

Purpose: According to the Procedural Deficit Hypothesis (PDH), difficulties in the Procedural Learning (PL) system may contribute to the language difficulties observed in children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI). Method: Fifteen children with SLI and their typically developing (TD) peers were compared on visual PL tasks: specifically, deterministic Serial Reaction Time (SRT) tasks. In a first experiment, children with SLI and their TD peers performed the classical SRT task using a keyboard as response mode. In a second experiment, they performed the same SRT task but gave their responses through a touchscreen (instead of a keyboard) to reduce the motor and cognitive demands of the task. Results: Although in Experiment 1, children with SLI demonstrated learning, they were slower and made more errors than their TD peers. Nevertheless, these relative weaknesses disappeared when the nature of the response mode changed (Experiment 2). Conclusions: This study reports that children with SLI may exhibit sequential learning. Moreover, the generally slower RTs observed in previous deterministic SRT studies may be explained by the response mode used. Thus, our findings are not consistent with the predictions of the PDH, and suggest that language impairments in SLI are not sustained by poor procedural learning abilities. [less ▲]

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See detailSpatial and/or visual short-term memory deficit in unilateral neglect
Wansard, Murielle ULg; Meulemans, Thierry ULg; Bartolomeo, Paolo

in 1st Joint Meeting of the Belgian Association for Psychological Science and Sociedad Espanola de Psicologia Experimental. (2012, May 11)

Patients suffering from left unilateral neglect fail to perceive or respond to stimuli presented within the contralesional space. Neglect is generally considered as involving an attentional bias towards ... [more ▼]

Patients suffering from left unilateral neglect fail to perceive or respond to stimuli presented within the contralesional space. Neglect is generally considered as involving an attentional bias towards the ipsilateral side. Recently, it has been suggested that revisiting and perseveration behaviors in visual search tasks shown in parietal neglect could be related to impairment in visuo-spatial working memory (Husain et al., 2001; Wojciulik et al., 2001). The aim of the present study was to investigate which aspect of visuo-spatial working memory is involved in unilateral neglect. Indeed, different source of evidence support the idea that visuo-spatial working memory involves at least two separate cognitive subsystems: the visual cache and the inner scribe (Logie, 1995; Pickering et al., 2001). We assessed thirteen right-damaged patients suffering from left neglect on two experimental task involving either spatial (Corsi test) or visual (Span test) working memory. Results show that visual and/or spatial working memory can be impaired in spatial neglect. This double dissociation provides neuropsychological support for the separation of visuo-spatial working memory into two subcomponents. The clinical and anatomical implications of this finding are discussed. [less ▲]

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See detailProcedural learning in Developmental Coordination Disorder
Lejeune, Caroline ULg; Catale, Corinne ULg; Schmitz, Xavier ULg et al

in Books of Abstract: 1st Joint Meeting of the Belgian Association for Psychological Science & Sociedad Espanola de Psicologica Experimental (2012, May 11)

Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) is a developmental disorder characterized by marked impairments in motor skills. Despite its negative impact on daily activities and on cognitive and academic ... [more ▼]

Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) is a developmental disorder characterized by marked impairments in motor skills. Despite its negative impact on daily activities and on cognitive and academic performance, the mechanisms underlying DCD remain largely unknown. The aim of our study was to investigate the hypothesis of a motor procedural learning impairment in DCD, which would explain difficulties in motor learning and automation of novel motor skills in these children. A total of 32 children (16 with DCD and 16 typically developing [TD] children) aged between 6 and 12 years old participated in this study. Children were administered a task adapted from the traditional shapes’ mirror-tracing task. Results showed that DCD children were able to learn the skill as fast as TD children; the learning pattern of DCD and TD children in motor procedural learning is similar. But is there any generalization of a new perceptual-motor skill in DCD children? Actually, DCD children were slower during the transfer task (triangle task) than TD children; the transfer task was more difficult for the DCD children than their peers. DCD children and TD children differ in their abilities to generalize the motor schema to a new task, more complex. These results confirm the hypothesis of a motor procedural learning impairment in DCD. [less ▲]

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See detailThe benefits of prior sequence learning on a serial reaction time performance in Alzheimer's disease: Comparison of two learning methods
Schmitz, Xavier ULg; Bier, Nathalie; Joubert, Sven et al

Conference (2012, May 10)

It is well known that patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) are able to acquire new perceptual-motor skills (e.g., Rouleau et al., 2002). However, implicit learning methods should be favored, because ... [more ▼]

It is well known that patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) are able to acquire new perceptual-motor skills (e.g., Rouleau et al., 2002). However, implicit learning methods should be favored, because they reduce the intervention of controlled processes related to working memory (Van Halteren-Van Tilborg, 2007). We compared two learning methods (implicit vs. declarative) of a perceptual-motor sequence in 12 patients with AD and 12 healthy older adults. In the implicit learning condition, subjects were simply asked to perform the sequence several times by pushing on the keyboard key corresponding to the stimulus on the screen. In the declarative condition, subjects learned the sequence by trial-and-error. The impact of the two methods was compared in a subsequent serial reaction time task, in which subjects had to respond as quickly as possible to the previously learned sequence. Results show that prior implicit learning is effective in both groups (p<.05). In contrast, in the declarative condition, while the two groups showed improving performance during the learning phase (p<0.01), only the control group benefits from this knowledge during the SRT task (p<0.01). In conclusion, our results show preserved perceptual-motor learning in AD when the method induces the intervention of non-declarative, automatic memory processes. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Conners Parent Rating Scale: Confirmatory factorial analysis on preliminary data in a sample of 5-10 years old Belgian French Speaking Children
Catale, Corinne ULg; Meulemans, Thierry ULg; Lejeune, Caroline ULg et al

in Book of Abstracts (2012)

Introduction The Conners Parent Rating Scale-48 items (CPRS) is one of the most used behavioral scales in clinical and research settings with children suffering from neurodevelopmental disorders, and ... [more ▼]

Introduction The Conners Parent Rating Scale-48 items (CPRS) is one of the most used behavioral scales in clinical and research settings with children suffering from neurodevelopmental disorders, and particularly with children with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This scale provides an interesting qualitative and quantitative picture of the emotional and behavioural children’s attitude by including five subscales assessing conduct problem, learning problem, anxiety, impulsive/hyperactive behaviour and psychosomatic feelings (e.g., Goyette, Conners, & Ulrich, 1978). Previous versions of this scale were developed to contribute to the identification of hyperkinetic children and evaluate treatment efficiency. To our knowledge, no study has verified the factor structure of the French version of the CPRS. In this context, the principal aims of this study were to verify the five-factor structure of the French version of the CPRS and therefore to provide preliminary culturally adapted normative data for Belgian French-speaking children aged from 5 to 10 years old. Method The CPRS for parents was distributed in several schools in the region of Liège (Belgium). A total of 157 parents of normally developing 5-10 years old children participated in this study (Mean age: 7.94 years, SD: 2.01). Exclusion criteria for participation were a history of traumatic brain injury or neurological, developmental, learning, or psychiatric disorders. Results We carried out a Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) using LISREL 8.80 (Jöreskog & Sörbom, 2006) to examine the factor structure of the French version of the CPRS. We tested the five-factor structure found in Goyette, Conners, and Ulrich (1978) with the English version including the five following subscales: [i] Conduct problem, [ii] Learning problem, [iii] Psychosomatic, [iv] Impulsive-hyperactive, and [v] Anxiety. To evaluate the fit of this model, different goodness-of-fit indexes were employed: (1) the chi2 value, (2) the Root Mean Square Error of Approximation (RMSEA; Browne & Cudeck, 1989), and (3) the Comparative Fit Index (CFI; Bentler, 1990). Generally, the fitness index is calculated from the value of the chi-square divided by the degrees of freedom. A value of chi2/df of less than 2 is considered to be an indication of an adequate fit. The RMSEA indicates a ‘good’ approximation if it is less than .05. A RMSEA between .05 and .08 reflects a ‘reasonable’ approximation, and a RMSEA greater than .08 indicates poor approximation. In line with Goyette, Conners, and Ulrich (1978), a five-factor model was constructed in which the items of the CPRS were hypothesized to reflect these factors. The chi-square of the model was not significant, chi2 (199) = 230.626, p > .05. The chi2/df ratio is 1.15, which indicates an adequate fit. For the other fit indices, we obtained a RMSEA of .07. The combination of these indices indicated an acceptable fit for the model tested. The standard item alpha for the whole-scale was .82. The reliability coefficient (Cronbach’s alpha) for each of the subscales ranged from .63 to .80 (Mean: .72). The coefficients confirmed the good internal reliability of the inventory. Discussion The principal aim of this study was to validate the five-factor structure of the French adaptation of the CPRS in Belgian French-speaking children. Interestingly, the CFA showed that, like the original version, the French adaptation of the CPRS presents good psychometric characteristics. More interestingly, the CFA confirmed that the 48-item scale of the French version of the CPRS specifically assessed the five different children’s behaviours described above. Furthermore, this study provides cultural-adapted normative data for Belgian French-speaking children. Future research will be necessary to examine to what extent this questionnaire can discriminate between children with ADHD and normally developing children. [less ▲]

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See detailProcedural learning in specific language impairment: effects of sequence complexity
Gabriel, Audrey ULg; Maillart, Christelle ULg; Stefaniak, Nicolas ULg et al

in Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society (2012)

According to the procedural deficit hypothesis (PDH), abnormal development in the procedural memory system could account for the language deficits observed in specific language impairment (SLI). Recent ... [more ▼]

According to the procedural deficit hypothesis (PDH), abnormal development in the procedural memory system could account for the language deficits observed in specific language impairment (SLI). Recent studies have supported this hypothesis by using a serial reaction time (SRT) task, during which a slower learning rate is observed in children with SLI compared to controls. Recently, we obtained contrasting results, demonstrating that children with SLI were able to learn a sequence as quickly and as accurately as controls. These discrepancies could be related to differences in the statistical structure of the SRT sequence between these studies. The aim of this study was to further assess, in a group of 21 children with SLI, the PDH with second-order conditional sequences, which are more difficult to learn than those used in previous studies. Our results show that children with SLI had impaired procedural memory, as evidenced by both longer reaction times and no sign of sequence-specific learning in comparison with typically developing controls. These results are consistent with the PDH proposed by Ullman and Pierpont (2005) and suggest that procedural sequence-learning in SLI children depends on the complexity of the to-be-learned sequence. [less ▲]

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See detailUnimpaired Procedural visual learning abilities in children with specific language impairment..
Gabriel, Audrey ULg; Stefaniak, Nicolas ULg; Maillart, Christelle ULg et al

in American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology (2012)

Purpose: According to the Procedural Deficit Hypothesis (PDH), difficulties in the Procedural Learning (PL) system may contribute to the language difficulties observed in children with Specific Language ... [more ▼]

Purpose: According to the Procedural Deficit Hypothesis (PDH), difficulties in the Procedural Learning (PL) system may contribute to the language difficulties observed in children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI). Method: Fifteen children with SLI and their typically developing (TD) peers were compared on visual PL tasks: specifically, deterministic Serial Reaction Time (SRT) tasks. In a first experiment, children with SLI and their TD peers performed the classical SRT task using a keyboard as response mode. In a second experiment, they performed the same SRT task but gave their responses through a touchscreen (instead of a keyboard) to reduce the motor and cognitive demands of the task. Results: Although in Experiment 1, children with SLI demonstrated learning, they were slower and made more errors than their TD peers. Nevertheless, these relative weaknesses disappeared when the nature of the response mode changed (Experiment 2). Conclusions: This study reports that children with SLI may exhibit sequential learning. Moreover, the generally slower RTs observed in previous deterministic SRT studies may be explained by the response mode used. Thus, our findings are not consistent with the predictions of the PDH, and suggest that language impairments in SLI are not sustained by poor procedural learning abilities. [less ▲]

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See detailIs motor sequence learning impaired in Developmental Coordination Disorder?
Lejeune, Caroline ULg; Catale, Corinne ULg; Schmitz, Xavier ULg et al

Poster (2012)

Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) is a developmental disorder characterized by marked impairments in motor skills. Despite its negative impact on daily activities and on cognitive and academic ... [more ▼]

Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) is a developmental disorder characterized by marked impairments in motor skills. Despite its negative impact on daily activities and on cognitive and academic performance, the mechanisms underlying this disorder remain largely unknown. One hypothesis that has been proposed is that the poor motor coordination abilities may be attributed to impairments in motor learning and, more specifically, in learning of the correct sequencing of movements (Gheysen et al., 2011). To date, only two studies have directly investigated sequence learning in DCD, but their results are contradictory. The aim of this study was to explore learning of motor sequence in DCD children by means of a modified version of the Serial Reaction Time (SRT) task where the standard keyboard was replaced by a touch screen in order to reduce the impact of the DCD group’s motor difficulties. A total of 34 children (17 with DCD and 17 typically developing (TD) children aged between 6 and 12 years old participated in this study. Results show that DCD children were able to learn the sequence as fast and as accurately as TD children. These findings, showing that children with DCD present the same degree of implicit learning as TD children, differ from those obtained by Gheysen et al. (2011) and so, challenge the motor sequence learning deficit hypothesis. We suggest that differences between studies are not related to an implicit sequence learning deficit per se in children with DCD, but rather to methodological aspects like the response mode used in the studies. [less ▲]

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See detailParental educational level influence on memory and executive performance in children
Catale, Corinne ULg; Willems, Sylvie ULg; Lejeune, Caroline ULg et al

in European Review of Applied Psychology = Revue Européenne de Psychologie Appliquée (2012), 62

Introduction. – The influence of Parental Educational Status (PES) on cognitive performance has been confirmed in several studies. Objective. – The aim of this study was to explore the relationship ... [more ▼]

Introduction. – The influence of Parental Educational Status (PES) on cognitive performance has been confirmed in several studies. Objective. – The aim of this study was to explore the relationship between PES and several domains of cognitive functioning and examine, through mediation analyses, the relationship between PES, language,and cognitive tasks. Method. – We first administered tasks measuring memory, executive and attentional abilities to 64 European native French speakers, divided into two groups of children according to parents’ educational status. Results. – The results suggest that, on most tasks, the effect of socio-educational status is mediated by language abilities. However, because the results were less clear for executive functions, we carried out a second experiment in which we administered more specific executive measures (i.e. inhibition, cognitive flexibility, updating and reasoning) to 80 children. Conclusion. – The results confirmed the influence of the parents’ educational status on the executive functioning and also that, contrary to other cognitive functions, this influence on executive tasks is not completely explained by language differences. [less ▲]

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See detailRelationship between video game practice and attentional performance in children
Catale, Corinne ULg; Lejeune, Caroline; Meulemans, Thierry ULg

in 1st Joint Meeting of the Belgian Association for Psychological Science and Sociedad Espanola de Psicologia Experimental. Book of abstracts (2012)

Recent studies in adults have shown an advantage for video games players compared to non-video game players on several attentional tasks, and particularly those involving visual processing and spatial ... [more ▼]

Recent studies in adults have shown an advantage for video games players compared to non-video game players on several attentional tasks, and particularly those involving visual processing and spatial distribution of attention. However, little is known about the influence of video game practice on children’s attentional and executive abilities. In this study, eighty 8-10 years old children divided into three groups (non-video-game players [NVGP], moderate video game players [MVGP], and Intense video game player [IVGP]) were administered computerized attentional/executive tasks tapping vigilance, visual and auditory selective attention, inhibition, and cognitive flexibility. Parents were also asked to complete behavioral scales. Results indicate limited effects of video game practice on attentional/executive tasks, with an advantage in reaction time only for vigilance and flexibility tasks. On the other hand, results on behavioral measures showed a positive relationship between the importance of video-game practice and hyperactive behaviors. In conclusion, these results support the idea that video game practice has a limited influence on attentional performance in children, while they might have an effect on the behavioral area. [less ▲]

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See detailNew learning in dementia
Bier, Nathalie; Adam, Stéphane ULg; Meulemans, Thierry ULg

in Seel, Robert (Ed.) Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning (2012)

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See detailAcquisition of a new motor skill in preschool- and school-aged children
Lejeune, Caroline ULg; Merbah, Sarah ULg; Catale, Corinne ULg et al

in Books of Abstract: ASecond Meeting of The Federation of European Societies of Neuropsychology (2011, September)

It is generally admitted that procedural learning abilities are efficient early in childhood. However, few studies have been carried out in this area. The aim of this study was to explore, with a ... [more ▼]

It is generally admitted that procedural learning abilities are efficient early in childhood. However, few studies have been carried out in this area. The aim of this study was to explore, with a perceptivo-motor learning task, whether procedural learning abilities are present to the same extent in 4-, 7-, and 10-year-old children. Forty-five children were tested. The task included 4 blocks of 12 trials during which each subject had to “catch”, as quickly as possible, several toys presented successively on the screen with a computerized inverted mouse. Retention tests, composed of 2 blocks of 12 trials, were administered 15 minutes and 1 week later. The analyses showed an important difference between groups in the first block. This difference could be related to the low ability of young children to handle the mouse and to their less developed executive functioning. On the other hand, results showed a similar learning rate between 5- and 7-year-old children, supporting the idea that procedural learning abilities are efficient early in development. However, we observed no procedural learning in10-year-old children; this unexpected result is probably due to the fact that this task was too easy for this age group, which is confirmed by the ceiling effect already observed during the first learning blocks. So, this study confirms the early efficiency of procedural abilities in childhood, but also highlights the difficulty to develop procedural learning tasks adapted to children from a large age range. [less ▲]

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See detailL’apprentissage de nouvelles informations sémantiques par les patients amnésiques : une revue de la littérature.
Stefaniak, Nicolas ULg; Meulemans, Thierry ULg

in Année Psychologique (L') (2011), 111

The ability of amnesic patients to learn new semantic information is a topic of research that has a renewed interest for about 10 years, in particular following Vargha-Khadem’s and collaborators’ (1997 ... [more ▼]

The ability of amnesic patients to learn new semantic information is a topic of research that has a renewed interest for about 10 years, in particular following Vargha-Khadem’s and collaborators’ (1997) works and the impact of these results both on our understanding of the relations between semantic and episodic memory and, from a clinical point of view, on the way to consider rehabilitation possibilities for these patients. This review aims to present what is known about this topic, by trying to respond to 4 different questions: What are the relations between episodic and semantic memory? Does the study of amnesic patients provide contributive data regarding this debate? Are these patients really able to learn new semantic information and, if so, to what extent? What is the nature of the knowledge that amnesic patients can acquire? [less ▲]

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See detailIncidental non linguistic regularities learning in Children with
Gabriel, Audrey ULg; Meulemans, Thierry ULg; Parisse, Christophe et al

Poster (2011, July)

Recent studies on specific language impairment (SLI) have suggested that language deficits could be partly explained by the Procedural Deficit hypothesis (PDH; Ullman & Pierpont, 2005). Tomblin et al ... [more ▼]

Recent studies on specific language impairment (SLI) have suggested that language deficits could be partly explained by the Procedural Deficit hypothesis (PDH; Ullman & Pierpont, 2005). Tomblin et al. (2007) and Lum et al. (2009; 2011) obtained data supporting this interpretation with the serial reaction time (SRT) task, as well as Evans et al. (2009) and Plante et al. (2002) with artificial grammar tasks. Recently, Gabriel et al. (2011) obtained contrasting results, showing that children with SLI were able to detect non linguistic regularities during a SRT task. The aim of this study was to assess the PDH by using a non-linguistic artificial grammar learning tasks in order to mimic real conditions of language acquisition. Twenty-three children with SLI and their typically developing (TD) peers are compared on a task in which the incidental learning sequence was presented through visual shapes via a laptop.These results confirm our previous study (Gabriel et al., 2011) by showing that children with SLI detect the rules in non-linguistic conditions. • So, contrary to results of previous studies (Evans et al., 2009; Lum et al., 2009; 2011; Plante et al., 2002; Tomblin et al., 2007), this study does not confirm the PDH in children with SLI, or at least suggests that, if present, the deficit of the procedural system in SLI is not going beyond the language system. [less ▲]

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