Perceptual learning with perceptions
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In this work we present an approach to understand neuronal mechanisms underlying perceptual learning. Experimental results achieved with stimulus patterns of coherently moving dots are considered to build a simple neuronal model. The design of the model is made transparent and underlying behavioral assumptions made explicit. The key aspect of the suggested neuronal model is the learning algorithm used: We evaluated an implementation of Hebbian learning and are thus able to provide a straight-forward model capable to explain the neuronal dynamics underlying perceptual learning. Moreover, the simulation results suggest a very simple explanation for the aspect of “sub-threshold” learning (Watanabe et al. in Nature 413:844–884, 2001) as well as the relearning of motion discrimination after damage to primary visual cortex as recently reported (Huxlin et al. in J Neurosci 29:3981–3991, 2009) and at least indicate that perceptual learning might only occur when accompanied by conscious percepts.
KeywordsPerceptual learning Hebb Neurodynamical model Perception
This work was supported by a grant from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
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