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Barbara Anne Dosher, Jiajuan Liu, Wilson Chu, Zhong-Lin Lu; Roving: The causes of interference and re-enabled learning in multi-task visual training. Journal of Vision 2020;20(6):9. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.6.9.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
People routinely perform multiple visual judgments in the real world, yet, intermixing tasks or task variants during training can damage or even prevent learning. This paper explores why. We challenged theories of visual perceptual learning focused on plastic retuning of low-level retinotopic cortical representations by placing different task variants in different retinal locations, and tested theories of perceptual learning through reweighting (changes in readout) by varying task similarity. Discriminating different (but equivalent) and similar orientations in separate retinal locations interfered with learning, whereas training either with identical orientations or sufficiently different ones in different locations released rapid learning. This location crosstalk during learning renders it unlikely that the primary substrate of learning is retuning in early retinotopic visual areas; instead, learning likely involves reweighting from location-independent representations to a decision. We developed an Integrated Reweighting Theory (IRT), which has both V1-like location-specific representations and higher level (V4/IT or higher) location-invariant representations, and learns via reweighting the readout to decision, to predict the order of learning rates in different conditions. This model with suitable parameters successfully fit the behavioral data, as well as some microstructure of learning performance in a new trial-by-trial analysis.
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