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Perceptual learning of fine contrast discrimination changes neuronal tuning and population coding in macaque V4

Sanayei, M., Chen, X., Chicharro, D. ORCID: 0000-0002-4038-258X , Distler, C., Panzeri, S. & Thiele, A. (2018). Perceptual learning of fine contrast discrimination changes neuronal tuning and population coding in macaque V4. Nat Commun, 9(1), 4238. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-06698-w


Perceptual learning, the improvement in perceptual abilities with training, is thought to be mediated by an alteration of neuronal tuning. It remains poorly understood how tuning properties change as training progresses, whether improved stimulus tuning directly links to increased behavioural readout of sensory information, or how population coding mechanisms change with training. Here, we recorded continuously from multiple neuronal clusters in area V4 while macaque monkeys learned a fine contrast categorization task. Training increased neuronal coding abilities by shifting the steepest point of contrast response functions towards the categorization boundary. Population coding accuracy of difficult discriminations resulted largely from an increased information coding of individual channels, particularly for those channels that in early learning had larger ability for easy discriminations, but comparatively small encoding abilities for difficult discriminations. Population coding was also enhanced by specific changes in correlations. Neuronal activity became more indicative of upcoming choices with training.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
Publisher Keywords: Animals; Electrophysiology; Learning; Macaca mulatta; Male; Neuronal Plasticity; Neurons; Visual Cortex; Visual Perception
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Science & Technology
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution International Public License 4.0.

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