Procedural learning impairments identified via predictive saccades in chronic traumatic brain injury

Marilyn F. Kraus, Deborah M. Little, Sydney M. Wojtowicz, John A. Sweeney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objective: To characterize integrity of fronto-striatal circuitry in chronic traumatic brain injury (TBI). Background: Due to both direct and indirect effects, TBI is hypothesized to affect frontal and striatal function. On the basis of elegant animal, lesion, and neuroimaging literatures, oculomotor testing can provide a useful tool for in vivo assessments of neurophysiologic function. The predictive saccade paradigm in oculomotor function is well established to provide assessment of this fronto-striatal circuit. Methods: Sixty patients with a history of chronic TBI completed 2 specific tests of oculomotor function, including a test of reflexive visually guided saccades to assess basic oculomotor function and a predictive saccade test to assess procedural learning. Results: TBI (mild and moderate/severe) was associated with a decrease in rates of procedural learning, with degree of impairment increasing with injury severity. This was observed as a decrease in the proportion of anticipatory saccades (primary measure of learning). Conclusions: This abnormal oculomotor performance supports the hypothesis that TBI results in chronic impairment of frontal-striatal functions proportionally to injury severity and demonstrate that oculomotor testing is sensitive to all severities of closed-head injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)210-217
Number of pages8
JournalCognitive and Behavioral Neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • Traumatic brain injury
  • oculomotor function
  • predictive saccades
  • reflexive guided saccades

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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