Selective learning (SL) is the ability to select items to learn from among other items. It requires the use of the executive processes of metacognitive control and working memory, which are considered to be mediated by the frontal cortex and its circuitry. We studied the efficiency with which verbal items of greater value are selectively learned from among items varying in value in 14 children ages 8-15 years who had sustained severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) and in 39 typically developing age-matched children. We hypothesized that children with TBI would be disproportionately compromised in selective learning efficiency in contrast to memory span when compared to normally developing children. The results supported our hypothesis, as children with TBI performed significantly worse than controls on a measure of selective learning efficiency, but the two groups performed similarly on a measure of word recall within the same task. Furthermore, the effect of TBI on performance was demonstrated to take place at the time of encoding, rather than at retrieval.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology