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J Vis. 2013 Apr 12;13(5). pii: 9. doi: 10.1167/13.5.9.

The classical TDT perceptual learning is mostly temporal learning.

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


The seminal study on perceptual learning of TDT (a texture discrimination task) has greatly shaped the field of perceptual learning up to the present time. However, here we demonstrate that this classic learning mostly involves temporal learning, rather than texture discrimination learning. Specifically, observers first practiced a letter identification task with backward masking to saturate the potential temporal learning of target-mask separation in TDT learning before they practiced the backward-masked TDT task directly. The temporal learning accounted for most of the overall TDT improvement, indicating TDT learning being mostly temporal learning. Meanwhile, the location specificity of TDT learning may be interpreted as temporal learning being confined to the trained location with conventional training because learning became mostly location invariant with double training. These results provide a new context to interpret the existing TDT brain imaging data aimed at understanding the neural mechanisms of perceptual learning.

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