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Aaron Clarke, Kristoffer Aberg, Carmen Sandi, Michael Herzog; No Stress With Perceptual Learning. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):916. doi: 10.1167/13.9.916.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Stress modulates declarative learning. Only a few studies have examined the influence of stress on non-declarative learning. Here, we examined the effects of a stressor, that significantly affects declarative learning, on a non-declarative perceptual learning task. On day one, participants performed a texture discrimination task. Following learning, participants submersed their forearm and hand in either ice-water or lukewarm water. The ice-water condition has previously been shown to improve declarative learning (Cahill, Gorski & Le, 2003). On day two, participants returned for a subsequent session with the same task. Only participants in the ice-water group had significantly elevated cortisol levels. However, contrary to similar declarative learning studies, we found no effect of increased stress on perceptual learning. These results suggest a functional segregation in the effects of stress hormones on cortical plasticity related to low-level perceptual learning and high-level declarative learning.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013
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