This is a press release based on a recent article in Nature. It made the interesting observation that the part of the striatum (caudate) appeared to learn the rules of a reward-associated eye movement task earlier than the prefrontal cortex. It raised the possibility that this brain region could be directing the cortex in its first learning responses, rather than the other way around.
Striatal biology is interesting in a number of health conditions including, but not limited to ADHD, Tourettes, Parkinson's disease, and Huntington's disease. If this is right, then the early learning could have a role in primitive learning that may be unconscious, but affecting behavioral changes or reflexive movements.
Primitive Brain Is 'Smarter' Than We Think, MIT