ENHANCING RELEARNING OF PEOPLE WITH BRAIN DAMAGE
 
Liu, P.Y., Chan, C.H. and Hui-Chan, W.Y., The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Hong Kong
 
This paper examined the effect of self-regulation and mental rehearsal on the relearning of previously learnt tasks of people after brain damage. A total of 46 people suffered from cerebral vascular accidents were randomly assigned to the experimental (n = 26) and control groups (n = 20). The mean age of the subjects were 72.0 (SD = 7.4). Those in the control program received skill training on a standard list of daily activities. The experimental intervention was three-week using self-regulation and mental rehearsal in learning the same daily activities. All subjects were evaluated on the performance of five trained tasks at the pre-program, post- program and one-month post discharge. At the post-program assessment, subjects were also tested on their performance of five tasks that they were not trained in the programs. After the program, the subjects in both the experimental (t = 8.68, df = 25, p <0.01) and control groups (t = 2.53, df = 19, p = 0.02) showed significant improvement on the performance. The effect maintained at the one-month interval after discharge reflected response maintenance (F (1, 44) = 21.68, p = 0.00). The subjects' performance on the tasks that were not re-trained were also significantly differed between the two groups (F (3, 62) = 69.25, p = 0.00) indicating the effect of response generalization. Self-regulation and mental rehearsal techniques were found useful for enhancing the relearning of lost tasks after brain injury. This process is hypothesized to be mediated by the undamaged neurons and rebuilding of neural connections which enhances relearning and its generalization of skills. These techniques are beneficial for increasing the learning capacities of people with brain injuries to face novice tasks in their future lives.