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Galliussi, Jessica; Grzeczkowski, Lukasz; Gerbino, Walter; Herzog, Michael H.; Bernardis, Paolo (2018): Is lack of attention necessary for task-irrelevant perceptual learning? In: Vision Research, Vol. 152: pp. 118-125
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Abstract

Perceptual learning can occur for a feature irrelevant to the training task, when it is sub-threshold and outside of the focus of attention (task-irrelevant perceptual learning, TIPL);however, TIPL does not occur when the task-irrelevant feature is supra-threshold. Here, we asked the question whether TIPL occurs when the task-irrelevant feature is sub-threshold but within the focus of spatial attention. We tested participants in three different discrimination tasks performed on a 3-dot stimulus: a horizontal Vernier task and a vertical bisection task (during pre- and post-training sessions), and a luminance task (during training). In Experiment 1 we found that attending to luminance differences within the same stimulus that contains a sub-threshold horizontal offset (an irrelevant feature during training) does not preclude TIPL, as revealed by an improvement in the Vernier task, but not in the bisection task. This conclusion was confirmed in Experiment 2, in which the 3-dot stimulus used during training did not include a horizontal offset.