The neurobiology of category learning

TitleThe neurobiology of category learning
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsF Ashby, G., & Spiering B. J.
JournalBehavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience Reviews
Date Published2004 Jun
KeywordsAnimals, Basal Ganglia, Brain Mapping, Classification, Cognition, Discrimination Learning, Humans, Memory, Mental Processes, Models, Neurological, Neurobiology, Prefrontal Cortex

Many recent studies have examined the neural basis of category learning. Behavioral neuroscience results suggest that both the prefrontal cortex and the basal ganglia play important category-learning roles; neurons that develop category-specific firing properties are found in both regions, and lesions to both areas cause category-learning deficits. Similar studies indicate that the inferotemporal cortex does not mediate the learning of new categories. The cognitive neuroscience literature on category learning appears contradictory until the results are partitioned according to the type of category-learning task that was used. Three major tasks can be identified: rule based, information-integration, and prototype-distortion. Recent results are consistent with the hypotheses that (a) learning in rule-based tasks requires working memory and executive attention and is mediated by frontal-striatal circuits, (b) learning in information-integration tasks requires procedural memory and is mediated primarily within the basal ganglia, and (c) learning in prototype-distortion tasks depends on multiple memory systems, including the perceptual representation system.

Alternate JournalBehav Cogn Neurosci Rev
PubMed ID15537987
Grant ListMH3760 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States