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J Vis. 2013 Mar 26;13(4):19. doi: 10.1167/13.4.19.

ERP P1-N1 changes associated with Vernier perceptual learning and its location specificity and transfer.

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  • 1State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China.

Abstract

Our recent studies demonstrate that perceptual learning can transfer completely to untrained retinal locations upon proper training procedures, which suggests perceptual learning being a high-level learning process occurring beyond the retinotopic visual areas. We propose that whether learning is location specific depends on the functional connections between high-level learning and the sensory inputs corresponding to the untrained retinal locations. These inputs may be suppressed by intensive training and focused (spatial) attention on the trained location to obstruct learning transfer. Here we present event-related potential (ERP) evidence that Vernier perceptual learning and its transfer are associated with P1 reduction and N1 enhancement. However, location specificity is only associated with N1 suppression corresponding to the untrained retinal location. These results are consistent with our proposal that the blockage of top-down influences or functional connections and the inhibition of visual inputs corresponding to untrained locations may contribute to location specificity in perceptual learning.

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