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Dongho Kim, Hisato Imai, Yuka Sasaki, Takeo Watanabe; Roles of inhibitory processes in perceptual learning. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):1128. doi: 10.1167/12.9.1128.
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Inhibitory processes are important for retrieving relevant information from related but irrelevant distracters. A well-known manifestation of these processes is retrieval induced forgetting (RIF) in which the act of processing of retrieving some target items from long-term memory sometimes impairs the ability to recall other items related to those targets. Is the inhibitory processes involved in the formation of perceptual learning that is defined long-term enhancement of a visual task? To address this question, we tested whether a trained visual target suppresses other untrained visual targets that are related to the trained targets. We divided 8 directional visual motion stimuli into two categories. The moving dots in a stimulus from one category were all red and those from the other category were blue. Two directions of one category were used for training (Rp+). The untrained motion directions from the same category (same color) are called RP-, and the untrained motion direction of the different category (different color) are called Nrp. The experiment consisted of a training stage of 8 sessions, which was preceded and followed by test stages. During the test and training stages subjects were asked to conduct a coherent motion detection task. The results showed that there was a significant interaction among Rp+, Rp-, and Nrp in the differences between pre-test and post-test performances. The learning effect of Rp+ was higher than that of either Rp- or Nrp. Importantly, the learning effects between Rp- and Nrp were marginally different. More specifically, the learning effect of Rp- was lower than that of Nrp. These results suggest that the inhibitory processes suppressed the distracter motion of Rp- to facilitate readout of the trained target moiton of Rp+.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012
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