Discrimination learning induced by training with identical stimuli

Sygal Amitay, Amy Louise Irwin, David Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Citations (Scopus)


Sensory stimuli become easier to detect or distinguish with practice. It is generally assumed that the task-relevant stimulus dimension becomes increasingly more salient as a result of attentively performing the task at a level that is neither too easy nor too difficult. However, here we show improved auditory frequency discrimination following training with physically identical tones that were impossible to discriminate. We also show that learning transfers across tone frequencies and across modalities: training on a silent visuospatial computer game improved thresholds on the auditory discrimination task. We suggest that three processes are necessary for optimal perceptual learning: sensitization through exposure to the stimulus, modality- and dimension-specific attention, and general arousal.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1446 - 1448
JournalNature Neuroscience
Early online date8 Oct 2006
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • auditory frequency discrimination
  • adaptive procedures
  • task difficulty
  • specificity
  • cortex
  • plasticity
  • perception
  • modulation
  • children


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