October 23, 2020

Visual perceptual learning generalizes to untrained effectors

Visual perceptual learning (VPL) is an improvement in visual function following training. Although the practical utility of VPL was once thought to be limited by its specificity to the precise stimuli used during training, more recent work has shown that such specificity can be overcome with appropriate training protocols. In contrast, relatively little is known about the extent to which VPL exhibits motor specificity. Indeed, previous studies have shown that training paradigms that require one type of response (e.g., a button press) do not necessarily transfer to those that require a different response (e.g., a mouse movement). In this work, we have examined the effector specificity of VPL by training observers on tasks that maintain the same visual stimuli and task structure, but that require different effectors to indicate the response. We find that, in these conditions, VPL transfers fully between manual and oculomotor responses. These results are consistent with the idea that VPL entails the learning of a decision rule that can generalize across effectors.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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