Infoscience

Journal article

Perceptual learning in a nonretinotopic frame of reference

Perceptual learning is the ability to improve perception through practice. Perceptual learning is usually specific for the task and features learned. For example, improvements in performance for a certain stimulus do not transfer if the stimulus is rotated by 90 or is presented at a different location. These findings are usually taken as evidence that orientation-specific, retinotopic encoding processes are changed during training. In this study, we used a novel masking paradigm in which the offset in an invisible, oblique vernier stimulus was perceived in an aligned vertical or horizontal flanking stimulus presented at a different location. Our results show that learning is specific for the perceived orientation of the vernier offset but not for its actual orientation and location. Specific encoding processes cannot be invoked to explain this improvement. We propose that perceptual learning involves changes in nonretinotopic, attentional readout processes.

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