Hebb repetition learning in adolescents with intellectual disabilities.

Henry, Lucy A.; Poloczek, Sebastian; Messer, David J.; Dennan, Rachel; Mattiauda, Elisa and Danielsson, Henrik (2022). Hebb repetition learning in adolescents with intellectual disabilities. Research in developmental disabilities, 125, article no. 104219.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ridd.2022.104219


Background: Hebb repetition learning is a form of long-term serial order learning that can occur when sequences of items in an immediate serial recall task are repeated. Repetition improves performance because of the gradual integration of serial order information from short-term memory into a more stable long-term memory trace.
Aims: The current study assessed whether adolescents with non-specific intellectual disabilities showed Hebb repetition effects, and if their magnitude was equivalent to those of children with typical development, matched for mental age.
Methods: Two immediate serial recall Hebb repetition learning tasks using verbal and visuospatial materials were presented to 47 adolescents with intellectual disabilities (11-15 years) and 47 individually mental age-matched children with typical development (4-10 years). Both groups showed Hebb repetition learning effects of similar magnitude, albeit with some reservations. Evidence for Hebb repetition learning was found for both verbal and visuospatial materials; for our measure of Hebb learning the effects were larger for verbal than visuospatial materials.
Conclusion: The findings suggested that adolescents with intellectual disabilities may show implicit long-term serial-order learning broadly commensurate with mental age level. The benefits of using repetition in educational contexts for adolescents with intellectual disabilities are considered.

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