3 years ago

Neural mechanisms of motion perceptual learning in noise

Fang Fang, Nihong Chen, Xuchu Weng, Hanyu Shao, Junshi Lu
Practice improves our perceptual ability. However, the neural mechanisms underlying this experience-dependent plasticity in adult brain remain unclear. Here, we studied the long-term neural correlates of motion perceptual learning. Subjects' behavioral performance and BOLD signals were tracked before, immediately after, and 2 weeks after practicing a motion direction discrimination task in noise over six daily sessions. Parallel to the specificity and persistency of the behavioral learning effect, we found that training sharpened the cortical tuning in MT, and enhanced the connectivity strength from MT to the intraparietal sulcus (IPS, a motion decision-making area). In addition, the decoding accuracy for the trained motion direction was improved in IPS 2 weeks after training. The dual changes in the sensory and the high-level cortical areas suggest that learning refines the neural representation of the trained stimulus and facilitates the information transmission in the decision process. Our findings are consistent with the functional specialization in the visual cortex, and provide empirical evidence to the reweighting theory of perceptual learning at a large spatial scale. Hum Brain Mapp, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/hbm.23808

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