Visual perceptual learning (VPL) is defined as visual performance improvement after visual experiences. VPL is often highly specific for a visual feature presented during training. Such specificity is observed in behavioral tuning function changes with the highest improvement centered on the trained feature and was originally thought to be evidence for changes in the early visual system associated with VPL. However, results of neurophysiological studies have been highly controversial concerning whether the plasticity underlying VPL occurs within the visual cortex. The controversy may be partially due to the lack of observation of neural tuning function changes in multiple visual areas in association with VPL. Here using human subjects we systematically compared behavioral tuning function changes after global motion detection training with decoded tuning function changes for 8 visual areas using pattern classification analysis on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) signals. We found that the behavioral tuning function changes were extremely highly correlated to decoded tuning function changes only in V3A, which is known to be highly responsive to global motion with human subjects. We conclude that VPL of a global motion detection task involves plasticity in a specific visual cortical area.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)