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

Lookup NU author(s): Mehdi Sanayei, Dr Xing Chen, Dr Stefano Panzeri, Professor Alexander Thiele



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


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 read-out 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 metadata

Author(s): Sanayei M, Chen X, Chicharro D, Distler C, Panzeri S, Thiele A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nature Communications

Year: 2018

Volume: 9

Online publication date: 12/10/2018

Acceptance date: 19/09/2018

Date deposited: 19/09/2018

ISSN (electronic): 2041-1723

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-06698-w


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Funder referenceFunder name
Medical Research Council
Wellcome Trust