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1. chinaXiv:201605.01366 [pdf]

Sharpened cortical tuning and enhanced cortico-cortical communication contribute to the long-term neural mechanisms of visual motion perceptual learning

Chen, Nihong; Li, Sheng; Fang, Fang; Chen, Nihong; Li, Sheng; Fang, Fang; Chen, Nihong; Li, Sheng; Fang, Fang; Chen, Nihong; Fang, Fang; Bi, Taiyong; Bi, Taiyong; Zhou, Tiangang; Liu, Zili
Subjects: Biology >> Biophysics >> Neurosciences

Much has been debated about whether the neural plasticity mediating perceptual learning takes place at the sensory or decision-making stage in the brain. To investigate this, we trained human subjects in a visual motion direction discrimination task. Behavioral performance and BOLD signals were measured before, immediately after, and two weeks after training. Parallel to subjects' long-lasting behavioral improvement, the neural selectivity in V3A and the effective connectivity from V3A to IPS (intraparietal sulcus, a motion decisionmaking area) exhibited a persistent increase for the trained direction. Moreover, the improvement was well explained by a linear combination of the selectivity and connectivity increases. These findings suggest that the long-term neural mechanisms of motion perceptual learning are implemented by sharpening cortical tuning to trained stimuli at the sensory processing stage, as well as by optimizing the connections between sensory and decision-making areas in the brain. (C) 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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