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Angela Vavassis, Michael W. von Grünau; Visual-spatial perceptual learning is specific to the context of trained stimulus display durations. Journal of Vision 2007;7(9):470. doi: 10.1167/7.9.470.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Purpose: Psychophysical studies have repeatedly demonstrated that visual search tasks can undergo perceptual learning. For difficult visual discriminations, the improvement in visual search speed and accuracy, characteristic of perceptual learning, has been shown to be specific to trained target locations. The current compilation of psychophysical studies aimed to assess a characteristic of perceptual learning specificity in difficult visual discrimination search tasks not previously examined. More specifically, these studies investigated whether perceptual learning is specific to the context of stimulus display durations in which trials are embedded during training. Methodology and Results: In experiment 1 (VSS 2006), testing was subdivided into a series of training sessions, spanning two consecutive days, and a test session on a third consecutive day. During training, rapidly presented stimulus displays (50msec) were presented randomly amongst all other stimulus display durations (100msec–500msec). The test session consisted of rapidly presented displays only (50msec). Target detection accuracy for 50msec trials significantly improved between the first training session and last training session (p = .010). Accuracy for 50msec trials significantly deteriorated between the last training session and the test session (p = .024). A pair-wise comparison of 50msec trials between the first training session and the test session revealed that performance returned to pre-training accuracy (p = 1.000). In experiments 2 and 3, manipulations to the testing protocol revealed that the effect is indeed robust and independent of the overall length of the testing session and of the imposed delay separating the final training session from the testing session. Conclusion: Findings from this study imply that visual-spatial perceptual learning in difficult visual discrimination search tasks is specific to the context of trained stimulus display durations.
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