Article

Perceptual Learning: Cortical Changes When Cats Learn a New Trick

Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, MA, USA.
Current biology: CB (Impact Factor: 9.57). 07/2010; 20(13):R557-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.05.004
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

A new study has found that the tuning properties of neurons in the primary visual cortex of cats change as they learn an orientation-discrimination task, casting new light on the neuronal basis of perceptual learning.

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    • "The fact that neurofunctional changes in response to the repeated delivery of tDCS are located at the primary side of its application provides an unprecedented piece of evidence with regard to the question of the neural level at which perceptual long-term learning takes place. In contrast to the concept of top-down perceptual learning[Ahissar et al., 2009]—that is, learning at higher levels of stimulus processing—broad and recent evidence [Bao et al., 2010;Hua et al., 2010]has argued that perceptual learning occurs at the level of primary sensory cortices[Adini et al., 2002[Adini et al., , 2004Sasaki et al., 2010]. The present study is the first to provide long-term brain imaging evidence from the domain of non-invasive brain stimulation to show that perceptual learning also targets the early level of stimulus processing in the somatomatosensory domain. "
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    ABSTRACT: We investigated the effect of repeated delivery of anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on somatosensory performance and long-term learning. Over the course of five days, tDCS was applied to the primary somatosensory cortex (S1) by means of neuronavigation employing magnetencephalography (MEG). Compared to its sham application, tDCS promoted tactile learning by reducing the two-point discrimination threshold assessed by the grating orientation task (GOT) primarily by affecting intersessional changes in performance. These results were accompanied by alterations in the neurofunctional organization of the brain, as revealed by functional magnetic resonance imaging conducted prior to the study, at the fifth day of tDCS delivery and four weeks after the last application of tDCS. A decrease in activation at the primary site of anodal tDCS delivery in the left S1 along retention of superior tactile acuity was observed at follow-up four weeks after the application of tDCS. Thus, we demonstrate long-term effects that repeated tDCS imposes on somatosensory functioning. This is the first study to provide insight into the mode of operation of tDCS on the brain's response to long-term perceptual learning, adding an important piece of evidence from the domain of non-invasive brain stimulation to show that functional changes detectable by fMRI in primary sensory cortices participate in perceptual learning. Hum Brain Mapp, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Human Brain Mapping
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    • "Even in light of the scarcity of empirical evidence, several papers have relied on hypotheses regarding the role of attention on VPL (Ahissar & Hochstein, 2004;Dolan et al., 1997;Gilbert, Sigman, & Crist, 2001;Sasaki et al., 2009Sasaki et al., , 2012Wang et al., 2014;Watanabe & Nañez, 2001;Watanabe & Sasaki, 2015;Xiao et al., 2008;). For example, attention is considered a gate for PL (Ahissar & Hochstein, 2004;Roelfsema et al., 2010;Sasaki et al., 2010), and to have important implications for the emergence of transfer versus specificity (Fahle, 2009;Sasaki et al., 2012;Mukai et al., 2007;Shiu & Pashler, 1992;Wang et al., 2014;Watanabe & Sasaki, 2015;Zhang et al., 2013;). Here, we investigate the effect of attention on PL. "
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    ABSTRACT: Perceptual skills can be improved through practice on a perceptual task, even in adulthood. Visual perceptual learning is known to be mostly specific to the trained retinal location, which is considered as evidence of neural plasticity in retinotopic early visual cortex. Recent findings demonstrate that transfer of learning to untrained locations can occur under some specific training procedures. Here, we evaluated whether exogenous attention facilitates transfer of perceptual learning to untrained locations, both adjacent to the trained locations (Experiment 1) and distant from them (Experiment 2). The results reveal that attention facilitates transfer of perceptual learning to untrained locations in both experiments, and that this transfer occurs both within and across visual hemifields. These findings show that training with exogenous attention is a powerful regime that is able to overcome the major limitation of location specificity.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Journal of Vision
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    • "Even in light of the scarcity of empirical evidence, several papers have relied on hypotheses regarding the role of attention on VPL (Ahissar & Hochstein, 2004; Dolan et al., 1997; Gilbert, Sigman, & Crist, 2001; Sasaki et al., 2009, 2012; Wang et al., 2014; Watanabe & Nañez, 2001; Watanabe & Sasaki, 2015; Xiao et al., 2008; Yotsumoto & Watanabe, 2008). For example, attention is considered a gate for PL (Ahissar & Hochstein, 2004; Roelfsema et al., 2010; Sasaki et al., 2010), and to have important implications for the emergence of transfer versus specificity (Fahle, 2009; Sasaki et al., 2012; Mukai et al., 2007; Shiu & Pashler, 1992; Wang et al., 2014; Watanabe & Sasaki, 2015; Yotsumoto & Watanabe, 2008; Zhang et al., 2013; Zhang, Xiao et al., 2010). Here, we investigate the effect of attention on PL. "

    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Journal of Vision
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