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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Modulation of Implicit Sensory and Sensorimotor Learning: An Investigation Within and Across Sensory Modalities

  • Author(s): Barakat, Brandon Keith
  • Advisor(s): Shams, Ladan
  • et al.

Implicit forms of learning are what govern many aspects of human perception, cognition, and actions. This dissertation describes three studies, each of which investigated a different type of implicit learning. The first study examined visual perceptual learning. Findings from the first study suggested that, with training, people learned to detect subtle differences between rhythmic visual sequences, but their improvement depended on which sensory modalities were engaged during training. Namely, visual rhythm perception was only improved when the auditory modality was engaged during training. The second study examined whether passive exposure to sequences in multiple sensory modalities would facilitate subsequent performance in a visuomotor sequence task. However, the results failed to reveal a significant benefit of passive sequence exposure to visuomotor performance. Finally, the third study examined the effect of statistical learning on internal stimulus representations. The results indicated that when stimuli were repeatedly presented in predictable sequences, the perceptual saliency of some of the stimuli was enhanced relative to others, depending on their degree of predictability within the sequences. Each of these studies has the potential to make a significant contribution to the research literature and, more generally, to expand our understanding of basic mechanisms of human learning.

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