What does perceptual experience contribute to figure-ground segregation? To study this question, we trained observers to search for symmetric dot patterns embedded in random dot backgrounds. Training improved shape segmentation, but learning did not completely transfer either to untrained locations or to untrained shapes. Such partial specificity persisted for a month after training. Interestingly, training on shapes in empty backgrounds did not help segmentation of the trained shapes in noisy backgrounds. Our results suggest that perceptual training increases the involvement of early sensory neurons in the segmentation of trained shapes, and that successful segmentation requires perceptual skills beyond shape recognition alone.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sensory Systems