Perceptual Learning: Behavior, Neurophysiology & Computation

(Psy8036 and Psy 8993-025)

University of Minnesota, Spring Semester, 2005

Dan Kersten (Psy 8036,
Sheng He (Psy 8993-025,
Geoff Ghose (
Scott Murray (

Meeting time : 8:45 to 10:15 Tuesdays
Place: Elliott Hall 204

Learning and adaptation take place within the visual and other perceptual pathways. Understanding the principles of learning at this early input stage of information processing is a critical prerequisite for understanding human capacities that rely on sensory input. Because of its intrinsic importance to human behavior, vision is a model system for researchers interested in development, neuroscience, cognition and behavior, and artificial intelligence. We will study three burgeoning areas of vision research: perceptual learning, brain plasticity, and machine learning. Recent advances are questioning the prevailing view that human vision is frozen following a brief early critical period. The visual system (and presumably other neural systems) are modifiable throughout the human lifespan. Just how modifiable, on what time scale, and at what level of specificity are key unresolved issues to be discussed.

Format: Discussion of journal articles led by seminar members. Students can sign up for 1-3 credits. Students who register for 2 or 3 credits will prepare a term paper or term project on a related topic.

Tentative Reading List


Atkins, J. E., *Jacobs, R. A., & Knill, D. C. (2003). Experience-dependent visual cue recalibration based on discrepancies between visual and haptic percepts. Vision Res, 43(25), 2603-2613.

Barlow, H. (1990). Conditions for versatile learning, Helmholtz's unconscious inference, and the task of perception. Vision Res, 30(11), 1561-1571.

Battaglia, P. W., *Jacobs, R. A., & Aslin, R. N. (2004). Depth-dependent blur adaptation. Vision Res, 44(2), 113-117.

*Brady, M. J., & Kersten, D. (2003). Bootstrapped learning of novel objects. J Vis, 3(6), 413-422.

Buchel, C., Coull, J. T., & Friston, K. J. (1999). The predictive value of changes in effective connectivity for human learning. Science, 283(5407), 1538-1541.

Carandini, M. (2000). Visual cortex: Fatigue and adaptation. Curr Biol, 10(16), R605-607.

Chung S.T.L., Legge G.E. & Cheung S.-H. Letter recognition and reading speed in peripheral vision benefit from perceptual learning. Vision Research (in press).

Clifford, C. W. (2002). Perceptual adaptation: motion parallels orientation. Trends Cogn Sci, 6(3), 136-143.

Crist, R.E., Li, W., & *Gilbert, C.D. (2001). Learning to see: experience and attention in primary visual cortex. Nature
Neuroscience, 4, 519-525.

Dolan, R. J., Fink, G. R., Rolls, E., Booth, M., Holmes, A., Frackowiak, R. S., et al. (1997). How the brain learns to see objects and faces in an impoverished context. Nature, 389(6651), 596-599.

Domini, F., Adams, W., & Banks, M. S. (2001). 3D after-effects are due to shape and not disparity adaptation. Vision Res, 41(21), 2733-2739.

Dragoi, V., Sharma, J., & *Sur, M. (2000). Adaptation-induced plasticity of orientation tuning in adult visual cortex. Neuron, 28(1), 287-298.

Ernst, M. O., Banks, M. S., & Bulthoff, H. H. (2000). Touch can change visual slant perception. Nat Neurosci, 3(1), 69-73.

Fahle, M. (2002). Perceptual learning: gain without pain? Nat Neurosci, 5(10), 923-924.

L. Fei-Fei, R. Fergus, and P. Perona. A Bayesian approach to unsupervised One-Shot learning of Object categories. Proc. ICCV. 2003 (pdf)

Foldiak, P. (1990). Forming sparse representations by local anti-Hebbian learning. Biol Cybern, 64(2), 165-170.

Friston, K. (2003). Learning and inference in the brain. Neural Netw, 16(9), 1325-1352.

Furmanski, C. S., Schluppeck, D., & *Engel, S. A. (2004). Learning strengthens the response of primary visual cortex to simple patterns. Curr Biol, 14(7), 573-578.

Gauthier, I., & Nelson, C. A. (2001). The development of face expertise. Curr Opin Neurobiol, 11(2), 219-224.

Green CS, *Bavelier D (2003) Action video game modifies visual selective attention. Nature 423:534-537.

Gibson, E. J. (1969). Principles of perceptual learning and development. New York,: Appleton-Century-Crofts.

Gibson, E. J., & Pick, A. D. (2000). An ecological approach to perceptual learning and development. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press.

*Gilbert, C. D., Sigman, M., & Crist, R. E. (2001). The neural basis of perceptual learning. Neuron, 31(5), 681-697.

Grill-Spector, K. (2001). Semantic versus perceptual priming in fusiform cortex. Trends Cogn Sci, 5(6), 227-228.

Grill-Spector, K., & Malach, R. (2004). The human visual cortex. Annu Rev Neurosci, 27, 649-677.

Gold, J., Bennett, P. J., & Sekuler, A. B. (1999). Signal but not noise changes with perceptual learning. Nature, 402(6758), 176-178.

He, S., & MacLeod, D. I. (2001). Orientation-selective adaptation and tilt after-effect from invisible patterns. Nature, 411(6836), 473-476.

Herzog, M. H., & Fahle, M. (1997). The role of feedback in learning a vernier discrimination task. Vision Res, 37(15), 2133-2141.

Herzog, M. H., & Fahle, M. (1999). Effects of biased feedback on learning and deciding in a vernier discrimination task. Vision Res, 39(25), 4232-4243.

Hochstein, S., & Ahissar, M. (2002). View from the top: hierarchies and reverse hierarchies in the visual system. Neuron, 36(5), 791-804.

Ito, M., Westheimer, G., & *&Gilbert, C. D. (1998). Attention and perceptual learning modulate contextual influences on visual perception. Neuron, 20(6), 1191-1197.

*Jacobs, R. A., & Dominguez, M. (2003). Visual development and the acquisition of motion velocity sensitivities. Neural Comput, 15(4), 761-781.

*Just, M. A., Newman, S. D., Keller, T. A., McEleney, A., & Carpenter, P. A. (2004). Imagery in sentence comprehension: an fMRI study. Neuroimage, 21(1), 112-124.

*Just, M. A., Carpenter, P. A., Maguire, M., Diwadkar, V., & McMains, S. (2001). Mental rotation of objects retrieved from memory: a functional MRI study of spatial processing. J Exp Psychol Gen, 130(3), 493-504.

*Kersten D, Mamassian P, Yuille A (2004) Object perception as Bayesian inference. Annu Rev Psychol 55:271-304.

Konishi, S. M., *Yuille, A. L., Coughlan, J. M., & Zhu, S. C. (2003). Statistical edge detection: Learning and evaluating edge cues. IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, 25(1), 57-74.

Kording, K. P., & Wolpert, D. M. (2004). Bayesian integration in sensorimotor learning. Nature, 427(6971), 244-247.

Leopold, D. A., O'Toole, A. J., Vetter, T., & Blanz, V. (2001). Prototype-referenced shape encoding revealed by high-level aftereffects. Nat Neurosci, 4(1), 89-94.

*Liu, Z., & Weinshall, D. (2000). Mechanisms of generalization in perceptual learning. Vision Res, 40(1), 97-109.

*Liu, Z. (1999). Perceptual learning in motion discrimination that generalizes across motion directions. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 96(24), 14085-14087.

McKee, S. P., & Westheimer, G. (1978). Improvement in vernier acuity with practice. Percept Psychophys, 24(3), 258-262.

Merabet, L. B., Rizzo, J. F., Amedi, A., Somers, D. C., & Pascual-Leone, A. (2005). Opinion: What blindness can tell us about seeing again: merging neuroplasticity and neuroprostheses. Nat Rev Neurosci, 6(1), 71-77.

Merabet, L., Thut, G., Murray, B., Andrews, J., Hsiao, S., & Pascual-Leone, A. (2004). Feeling by sight or seeing by touch? Neuron, 42(1), 173-179.

Miller, E. K., Gochin, P. M., & Gross, C. G. (1991). Habituation-like decrease in the responses of neurons in inferior temporal cortex of the macaque. Vis Neurosci, 7(4), 357-362.

Muller, J. R., Metha, A. B., Krauskopf, J., & Lennie, P. (1999). Rapid adaptation in visual cortex to the structure of images. Science, 285(5432), 1405-1408.

Murray, S. O., & Wojciulik, E. (2004). Attention increases neural selectivity in the human lateral occipital complex. Nat Neurosci, 7(1), 70-74.

O'Toole, A. J., & Kersten, D. J. (1992). Learning to see random-dot stereograms. Perception, 21(2), 227-243.

Rainer, G., Lee, H., & Logothetis, N. K. (2004). The Effect of Learning on the Function of Monkey Extrastriate Visual Cortex. PLoS Biol, 2(2), E44.

Rhodes, G., Jeffery, L., Watson, T. L., Clifford, C. W., & Nakayama, K. (2003). Fitting the mind to the world: face adaptation and attractiveness aftereffects. Psychol Sci, 14(6), 558-566.

Rubin, N., Nakayama, K., & Shapley, R. (1997). Abrupt learning and retinal size specificity in illusory-contour perception. Curr Biol, 7(7), 461-467.

Schwartz, S., Maquet, P., & Frith, C. (2002). Neural correlates of perceptual learning: a functional MRI study of visual texture discrimination. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 99(26), 17137-17142.

Sengpiel, F., & Bonhoeffer, T. (2002). Orientation specificity of contrast adaptation in visual cortical pinwheel centres and iso-orientation domains. Eur J Neurosci, 15(5), 876-886.

*Sinha, P., & Poggio, T. (1996). Role of learning in three-dimensional form perception. Nature, 384(6608), 460-463.

*Sinha, P., & Poggio, T. (2001). High-level learning of early perceptual tasks. In M. Fahle (Ed.), Perceptual Learning. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Skrandies, W., Jedynak, A., & Fahle, M. (2001). Perceptual learning: psychophysical thresholds and electrical brain topography. Int J Psychophysiol, 41(2), 119-129.

*Sur, M., Schummers, J., & Dragoi, V. (2002). Cortical plasticity: time for a change. Curr Biol, 12(5), R168-170.

*Tarr, M. J., & Cheng, Y. D. (2003). Learning to see faces and objects. Trends Cogn Sci, 7(1), 23-30.

Tarr, M. J., & Gauthier, I. (2000). FFA: a flexible fusiform area for subordinate-level visual processing automatized by expertise. Nat Neurosci, 3(8), 764-769.

Theoret, H., Merabet, L., & Pascual-Leone, A. (2004). Behavioral and neuroplastic changes in the blind: evidence for functionally relevant cross-modal interactions. J Physiol Paris, 98(1-3), 221-233.

*Tenenbaum JB (1999) Bayesian modeling of human concept learning. In: Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems (Kearns MSS, Solla A, Cohn DA, eds): Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

*Tenenbaum JB, Griffiths TL (2001) Generalization, similarity, and Bayesian inference. Behav Brain Sci 24:629-640; discussion 652-791.

Watanabe, T., Nanez, J. E., & Sasaki, Y. (2001). Perceptual learning without perception. Nature, 413(6858), 844-848.

Watanabe, T., Nanez, J. E., Sr., Koyama, S., Mukai, I., Liederman, J., & Sasaki, Y. (2002). Greater plasticity in lower-level than higher-level visual motion processing in a passive perceptual learning task. Nat Neurosci, 5(10), 1003-1009.

Weber M., M. Welling and P. Perona (2000) Unsupervised Learning of Models for Recognition
Proc. 6th Europ. Conf. Comp. Vis., ECCV2000, Dublin, Ireland, June 2000 (pdf)

Webster, M. A., Georgeson, M. A., & Webster, S. M. (2002). Neural adjustments to image blur. Nat Neurosci, 5(9), 839-840.

Webster, M. A., & MacLin, O. H. (1999). Figural aftereffects in the perception of faces. Psychon Bull Rev, 6(4), 647-653.

Yang, T., & Maunsell, J. H. (2004). The effect of perceptual learning on neuronal responses in monkey visual area V4. J Neurosci, 24(7), 1617-1626.

Yao, H., & *Dan, Y. (2001). Stimulus timing-dependent plasticity in cortical processing of orientation. Neuron, 32(2), 315-323.

Yao, H., Shen, Y., & *Dan, Y. (2004). Intracortical mechanism of stimulus-timing-dependent plasticity in visual cortical orientation tuning. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 101(14), 5081-5086.

Zenger-Landolt, B., & Heeger, D. J. (2003). Response suppression in v1 agrees with psychophysics of surround masking. J Neurosci, 23(17), 6884-6893.