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perceptual learning

Dear list,

        Many psychophysical experiments involve a "training" period, where
subjects get familiarized with the task, but the transition from a naive
a highly trained state is rarely documented. For some experiments, a few
presentations of the stimuli might be all what is necessary to ensure
fairly stable thresholds in the following test phase, while for others,
subjects have to go through hours of practice.

        I'm interested in perceptual learning in general, and in auditory
perceptual learning in particular, and would like to use the list for an
informal survey.

My questions are:

1. Which tasks do and don't "train up"?

And in tasks which do show a substantial training effect:

2. What is the time course of this learning?

3. What are the important parameters?

        amount and/or regularity of training
        retention after breaks
        measurement method

and also:

        How does the initial threshold relate to the final threshold?
        (poor starters catching up, or a similar "dynamic range" for

        How much does previous (hearing) experience matter?
        (e.g. is your favourite subject always the one with the lowest
        thresholds, and/or the fastest one to produce stable

        What is special in "special populations"?
        (e.g. musicians, piano tuners, hearing impaired, psychoacousticians...)

I'd be happy to hear from you about your experiences, and also about
references - i found lots in a "visual perceptual learning" search, but
much less in the auditory version.

many thanks, Marina

Marina Rose
University Laboratory of Physiology, Oxford, UK
tel;fax:0044 1865 272469
tel;work:0044 1865 272513
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fn:Marina Rose