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Learning to see in the presence of noise: single-neuron and fMRI studies


Rainer,  G
Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Rainer, G. (2001). Learning to see in the presence of noise: single-neuron and fMRI studies. Talk presented at Twenty-fourth European Conference on Visual Perception. Kusadasi, Turkey.

The perceptual ability of both humans and monkeys to identify objects in the presence of noise is improved by experience. We study this form of perceptual learning in monkeys by requiring them to identify natural images in the presence of different amounts of noise. Experience with a particular set of objects allows them to detect these objects in the presence of greater amounts of noise than in the case of completely novel objects. Such perceptual improvements are thought to occur by modifying neural representations and involve neural plasticity. To better understand these representational modifications, and how they occur at the level of single neurons and larger neural ensembles, we recorded single-neuron activity in frontal and extrastriate cortical areas as well as performing fMRI studies in monkeys. Together, these studies may provide insights into how complex natural objects are represented in different visual brain regions and how these representations change with experience.