Improvement in line orientation discrimination is retinally local but dependent on cognitive set
The ability of human observers to discriminate the orientation of a pair of straight lines differing by 3° improved with practice. The improvement did not transfer across hemifield or across quadrants within the same hemifield. The practice effect occurred whether or not observers were given feedback. However, orientation discrimination did not improve when observers attended to brightness rather than orientation of the lines. This suggests that cognitive set affects tuning in retinally local orientation channels (perhaps by guiding some form of unsupervised learning mechanism) and that retinotopic feature extraction may not be wholly preattentive.