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Aaron Levi, Danielle Shaked, Duje Tadin, Krystel R. Huxlin; Is improved contrast sensitivity a natural consequence of visual training?. Journal of Vision 2015;15(10):4. doi: 10.1167/15.10.4.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Many studies have shown that training and testing conditions modulate specificity of visual learning to trained stimuli and tasks. In visually impaired populations, generalizability of visual learning to untrained stimuli/tasks is almost always reported, with contrast sensitivity (CS) featuring prominently among these collaterally-improved functions. To understand factors underlying this difference, we measured CS for direction and orientation discrimination in the visual periphery of three groups of visually-intact subjects. Group 1 trained on an orientation discrimination task with static Gabors whose luminance contrast was decreased as performance improved. Group 2 trained on a global direction discrimination task using high-contrast random dot stimuli previously used to recover motion perception in cortically blind patients. Group 3 underwent no training. Both forms of training improved CS with some degree of specificity for basic attributes of the trained stimulus/task. Group 1's largest enhancement was in CS around the trained spatial/temporal frequencies; similarly, Group 2's largest improvements occurred in CS for discriminating moving and flickering stimuli. Group 3 saw no significant CS changes. These results indicate that CS improvements may be a natural consequence of multiple forms of visual training in visually intact humans, albeit with some specificity to the trained visual domain(s).
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