This research will investigate the effect of feedback based learning across different learning schedules on memory for procedural and declarative aspects of complex tools (i.e. objects that transform hand movements into functionally different mechanical actions); specifically, how these variables interact in patients with Parkinson's Disease (PD). Skilled tool use is mediated by the procedural memory system, which has also been proven to benefit from corrective feedback; this system is impaired in PD. Declarative aspects of memory have also been shown to benefit from feedback.
It has been proposed that both memory systems interact, such that declarative memory compensates for the impaired procedural memory system. For this reason, it is hypothesized that PD patients will experience a compensatory benefit from the declarative memory system in learning to use tools; this will be further enhanced under spaced learning conditions in which corrective feedback is available. PD patients and controls will be trained to use complex tools developed for this study. Participants will watch training videos containing the correct way to use the tool. They will then be asked to use the tool as seen in the video (feedback available) or to observe the tool being used again (no feedback). After a three-week delay a final memory test will be administered for skilled tool use as as well knowledge about tool features in order to assess procedural and declarative memory respectively.