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Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2006 Jan;85(1):36-43. Epub 2005 Sep 22.

Neural changes in the ventral and dorsal visual streams during pattern recognition learning.

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  • 1Neural Rehabilitation Engineering Laboratory, Universit√© catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium.


The learning process related to pattern and object recognition is difficult to study because the human brain has a remarkable capacity to recognise complex visual forms from early infancy. In the present study, we investigated on-going neural changes underlying the learning process of visual pattern recognition by means of a device substituting audition for vision. Functional MRI evidenced the gradual pattern recognition-induced recruitment of the ventral visual stream, bilaterally, from learning session 1 to session 3, and a slight decrease in these activation foci from session 3 to session 4. The initial increase in activation is thought to reflect the gradually enhanced visualisation of patterns in the subjects' mind across sessions. By contrast the subsequent decrease reported at the end of the training period is interpreted as the progressive optimisation of neuronal responses elicited by the task. Our results, in accordance with previous observations, suggest that the succession of activation increase and decrease in sensori-motor areas could be a general rule in sensory and sensori-motor learning.

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