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Neuroimage. 2013 Nov 1;81:205-212. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.05.058. Epub 2013 May 20.

Rapid changes in brain structure predict improvements induced by perceptual learning.

Author information

1
Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, 17 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AR, United Kingdom. Electronic address: thomas.ditye@gmail.com.
2
Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, 17 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AR, United Kingdom.
3
Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, 17 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AR, United Kingdom; Wellcome Trust Center for Neuroimaging, University College London, 12 Queen Square, London WC1N 3BG, United Kingdom.

Abstract

Practice-dependent changes in brain structure can occur in task relevant brain regions as a result of extensive training in complex motor tasks and long-term cognitive training but little is known about the impact of visual perceptual learning on brain structure. Here we studied the effect of five days of visual perceptual learning in a motion-color conjunction search task using anatomical MRI. We found rapid changes in gray matter volume in the right posterior superior temporal sulcus, an area sensitive to coherently moving stimuli, that predicted the degree to which an individual's performance improved with training. Furthermore, behavioral improvements were also predicted by volumetric changes in an extended white matter region underlying the visual cortex. These findings point towards quick and efficient plastic neural mechanisms that enable the visual brain to deal effectively with changing environmental demands.

KEYWORDS:

Cortical volume; Perceptual learning; Plasticity; Superior temporal sulcus; Visual search; White matter

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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