Journal article

Perceptual learning is specific beyond vision and decision making

Perceptual learning is usually assumed to occur within sensory areas or when sensory evidence is mapped onto decisions. Subsequent procedural and motor processes, involved in most perceptual learning experiments, are thought to play no role in the learning process. Here, we show that this is not the case. Observers trained with a standard three-line bisection task and indicated the offset direction of the central line by pressing either a left or right push button. Before and after training, observers adjusted the central line of the same bisection stimulus using a computer mouse. As expected, performance improved through training. Surprisingly, learning did not transfer to the untrained mouse adjustment condition. The same was true for the opposite, i.e., training with mouse adjustments did not transfer to the push button condition. We found partial transfer when observers adjusted the central line with two different adjustment procedures. We suggest that perceptual learning is specific to procedural motor aspects beyond visual processing. Our results support theories were visual stimuli are coded together with their corresponding actions.


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