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Ju Liang, Yifeng Zhou, Manfred Fahle, Zili Liu; Specificity of motion discrimination learning even with double training and staircase. Journal of Vision 2015;15(10):3. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/15.10.3.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Visual perceptual learning has been traditionally characterized by its specificity. Namely, learning transfers little to many untrained stimulus attributes. This result of specificity is the basis for the inference that perceptual learning takes place in low-level visual areas in the brain. Recently, however, Xiao and colleagues (2008) demonstrated a double training technique that enabled complete transfer of learning in all tasks that were tested. This technique has since been applied to motion direction discrimination learning. Learning along one average direction has been found to transfer completely to a new average direction, along which only dot number discrimination had been trained (J. Y. Zhang & Yang, 2014). In the current study, we first repeated the J. Y. Zhang and Yang (2014) experiment in exact procedure, stimuli, and task. We then continued the double training to examine transfer in longer-term perceptual learning. To our surprise, in both our exact replication attempt and in our longer-term learning study, we could not find complete transfer. In fact, the transfer to the dot number discrimination direction was no greater than to an untrained control direction. We suggest that individual differences and subtle differences in experimental setup between J. Y. Zhang and Yang (2014) and our studies are too strong and common to determine whether or not the new double training technique can bring about complete transfer in motion discrimination learning.
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