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Vision Res. 2003 Jun;43(12):1365-74.

Task-specific perceptual learning on speed and direction discrimination.

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Department of Psychology, Denison University, Granville, OH 43023, USA.


Twenty-two nai;ve undergraduates participated in a psychophysical experiment designed to elucidate the neural events that allow us to see subtle motion differences. Half of the subjects practiced extensively on a direction-discrimination task while the other half practiced extensively on a speed-discrimination task. The stimulus conditions in the two groups were identical. The results indicated that the learning curves for direction discrimination were significantly steeper than those for speed discrimination. Additionally, the significant practice-based improvements on each motion task did not transfer to the other motion task. The different learning rates and the lack of transfer suggest that the neural events mediating speed discrimination are at least partially independent from those mediating direction discrimination, and vice versa, even under identical stimulus conditions.

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