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Pan Zhang, Fang Hou, Fang-Fang Yan, Jie Xi, Bo-Rong Lin, Jin Zhao, Jia Yang, Ge Chen, Meng-Yuan Zhang, Qing He, Barbara Anne Dosher, Zhong-Lin Lu, Chang-Bing Huang; High reward enhances perceptual learning. Journal of Vision 2018;18(8):11. doi: 10.1167/18.8.11.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Studies of perceptual learning have revealed a great deal of plasticity in adult humans. In this study, we systematically investigated the effects and mechanisms of several forms (trial-by-trial, block, and session rewards) and levels (no, low, high, subliminal) of monetary reward on the rate, magnitude, and generalizability of perceptual learning. We found that high monetary reward can greatly promote the rate and boost the magnitude of learning and enhance performance in untrained spatial frequencies and eye without changing interocular, interlocation, and interdirection transfer indices. High reward per se made unique contributions to the enhanced learning through improved internal noise reduction. Furthermore, the effects of high reward on perceptual learning occurred in a range of perceptual tasks. The results may have major implications for the understanding of the nature of the learning rule in perceptual learning and for the use of reward to enhance perceptual learning in practical applications.
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