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Perceptual Learning of Fine Contrast Discrimination Under Non-roving, Roving-Without-Flanker, and Roving-with-Flanker Conditions and its Relation to Neuronal Activity in Macaque V1

Thiele, A., Chen, X., Sanayei, M. , Chicharro, D. ORCID: 0000-0002-4038-258X, Distler, C. & Panzeri, S. (2024). Perceptual Learning of Fine Contrast Discrimination Under Non-roving, Roving-Without-Flanker, and Roving-with-Flanker Conditions and its Relation to Neuronal Activity in Macaque V1. Journal of Cognitive Enhancement, doi: 10.1007/s41465-024-00298-x


Perceptual learning refers to an improvement in perceptual abilities with training. Neural signatures of visual perceptual learning have been demonstrated mostly in mid- and high-level cortical areas, while changes in early sensory cortex were often more limited. We recorded continuously from multiple neuronal clusters in area V1 while macaque monkeys learned a fine contrast categorization task. Monkeys performed the contrast discrimination task initially when a constant-contrast sample stimulus was followed by a test stimulus of variable contrast, whereby they had to indicate whether the test was of lower or higher contrast than the sample. This was followed by sessions where we employed stimulus roving; i.e. the contrast of the sample stimulus varied from trial to trial. Finally, we trained animals, under ‘stimulus roving-with-flanker’ conditions, where the test stimuli to be discriminated were flanked by ‘flanking stimuli’. Perceptual discrimination abilities improved under non-roving conditions and under roving-with-flanker conditions as training progressed. Neuronal discrimination abilities improved with training mostly under non-roving conditions, but the effect was modest and limited to the most difficult contrast. Choice probabilities, quantifying how well neural activity is correlated with choice, equally increased with training during non-roving, but not during either of the roving conditions (with and without flankers). Noise correlations changed with training in both monkeys, but the changes were not consistent between monkeys. In one monkey, noise correlations decreased with training for non-roving and both roving conditions. In the other monkey, noise correlations changed for some conditions, but lacked a systematic pattern. Thus, while perceptual learning occurred under non-roving and roving-with-flanker conditions, the changes in neural activity in V1 were overall modest and were essentially absent under the different roving conditions.

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 licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence 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 licence, visit
Publisher Keywords: Contrast discrimination, Striate cortex, Perceptual learning, Stimulus roving, Population coding
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Science & Technology
School of Science & Technology > Computer Science
SWORD Depositor:
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