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Christophe C. Le Dantec, Elizabeth E. Melton, Aaron R. Seitz; A triple dissociation between learning of target, distractors, and spatial contexts. Journal of Vision 2012;12(2):5. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/12.2.5.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
When we perform any task, we engage a diverse set of processes. These processes can be optimized with learning. While there exists substantial research that probes specific aspects of learning, there is a scarcity of research regarding interactions between different types of learning. Here, we investigate possible interactions between Perceptual Learning (PL) and Contextual Learning (CL), two types of implicit learning that have garnered much attention in the psychological sciences and that often co-occur in natural settings. PL increases sensitivity to features of task targets and distractors and is thought to involve improvements in low-level perceptual processing. CL regards learning of regularities in the environment (such as spatial relations between objects) and is consistent with improvements in higher level perceptual processes. Surprisingly, we found CL, PL for target features, and PL for distractor features to be independent. This triple dissociation demonstrates how different learning processes may operate in parallel as tasks are mastered.
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