Functional changes in the human cortex over the course of visual perceptual learning
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In this study we assessed functional changes through visual perceptual learning with bisection discrimination task. Before learning, after third session of learning and after learning ended, behavioral threshold and fMRI data has been collected. Our results showed that while participants showed threshold decrease in the midlearning session, the post-learning thresholds are turned to pre-learning levels. These results might be due to fatigue which caused by our experiment. Besides to training condition, we also tested location and task speciﬁcity. The results showed that only 150◦polar angle location showed signiﬁcant change between sessions. Along with the behavioral data, we collected task-based fMRI data while participants performing training and control conditions in the scanner. The analysis showed task-based BOLD response changed with session. However, post-hoc tests did not reveal signiﬁcant results. The resting-state functional connectivity analysis showed that the functional connectivity between V1 and V2 regions is signiﬁcantly increased. The Post Hoc analysis showed signiﬁcant change in the 210◦and 150◦polar angle conditions. The changes in the behavioral and functional connectivity measurements at 150◦polar angle conditions, these results might indicate the eﬀect of the inter-hemispheric connections. Moreover, our analysis on resting state data also revealed that, while there is no change between pre-learning and mid-learning sessions, connectivity changes signiﬁcantly in the post-learning session compared to other sessions. This ﬁnding supports the idea that functional connectivity changes related to perceptual learning might be occurring at the late phases of the learning. Overall, to rule out the confounds in the behavioral measurements and to link the behavioral data with the neural data, additional measurements should be taken in the future.
KeywordsVisual perceptual learning
Bisection discrimination task
Functional magnetic resonance imaging
Resting state functional connectivity