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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 2015, Article ID 512617, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/512617
Research Article

The Effect of Spatial Working Memory Deterioration on Strategic Visuomotor Learning across Aging

1Program in Neuroethology, University of Veracruz, 91190 Xalapa, VER, Mexico
2Laboratory of Neuropsychology, Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Coyoacán, 04510 Mexico City, DF, Mexico

Received 12 March 2015; Revised 30 June 2015; Accepted 12 July 2015

Academic Editor: Marjan Jahanshahi

Copyright © 2015 Luis A. Uresti-Cabrera et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Objective. To evaluate the effect of age-related cognitive changes in a visuomotor learning task that depends on strategic control and contrast it with the effect in a task principally depending on visuomotor recalibration. Methods. Participants performed a ball throwing task while donning either a reversing dove prism or a displacement wedge prism, which mainly depend on strategic control or visuomotor recalibration, respectively. Visuomotor performance was then analysed in relation to rule acquisition and reversal, recognition memory, visual memory, spatial planning, and spatial working memory with tasks from the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB). Results. The results confirmed previous works showing a detrimental effect of age on visuomotor learning. The analyses of the cognitive changes observed across age showed that both strategic control and visuomotor recalibration had significant negative correlations only with the number of errors in the spatial working memory task. However, when the effect of aging was controlled, the only significant correlation remaining was between the reversal adaptation magnitude and spatial working memory. Discussion. These results suggest that spatial working memory decline across aging could contribute to age-dependent deterioration in both visuomotor learning processes. However, spatial working memory integrity seems to affect strategic learning decline even after controlling for aging.