Neural bases of goal-directed implicit learning

Maryam Rostami, S. M.Hadi Hosseini, Makoto Takahashi, Motoaki Sugiura, Ryuta Kawashima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Several neuropsychological and neuroimaging studies have been performed to clarify the neural bases of implicit learning, but the question of which brain regions are involved in different forms of implicit learning, including goal-directed learning and habit learning, has not yet been resolved. The present study sought to clarify the mechanisms of goal-directed implicit learning by examining the sugar production factory (SPF) task in conjunction with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Several brain regions were identified that contribute to learning in the SPF task. Significant learning-related decreases in brain activity were found in the right inferior parietal lobule (IPL), left superior frontal gyrus, right medial frontal gyrus, cerebellar vermis, and left inferior frontal gyrus, while significant learning-related increases in activity were observed in the right inferior frontal gyrus, left precenteral gyrus and, left precuneus. Among these regions, we speculate that the IPL and medial frontal gyrus may specifically be involved in the early stage of goal-directed implicit learning. We also attempted to investigate the role of the striatum, which has a significant role in habit learning, during learning of the SPF task. The results of ROI analysis showed no learning-related change in the activity of the striatum. Although some of the observed learning-related activations in this study have also been previously reported in neuroimaging studies of habit learning, the possibility that specific brain regions involved in goal-direct implicit learning cannot be excluded.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-310
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Oct 15


  • Goal-directed learning
  • Implicit learning
  • Sugar production factory


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