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David P. McGovern, Ben S. Webb, Jonathan W. Peirce; Transfer of perceptual learning between different visual tasks. Journal of Vision 2012;12(11):4. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/12.11.4.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Practice in most sensory tasks substantially improves perceptual performance. A hallmark of this ‘perceptual learning' is its specificity for the basic attributes of the trained stimulus and task. Recent studies have challenged the specificity of learned improvements, although transfer between substantially different tasks has yet to be demonstrated. Here, we measure the degree of transfer between three distinct perceptual tasks. Participants trained on an orientation discrimination, a curvature discrimination, or a ‘global form' task, all using stimuli comprised of multiple oriented elements. Before and after training they were tested on all three and a contrast discrimination control task. A clear transfer of learning was observed, in a pattern predicted by the relative complexity of the stimuli in the training and test tasks. Our results suggest that sensory improvements derived from perceptual learning can transfer between very different visual tasks.
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