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Abstract

What is learned in perceptual learning? How does perceptual learning change the perceptual system? We investigate these questions using a systems analysis of the perceptual system during the course of perceptual learning using psychophysical methods and models of the observer. Effects of perceptual learning on an observer's performance are characterized by external noise tests within the framework of noisy observer models. We find evidence that two independent mechanisms, external noise exclusion and stimulus enhancement support perceptual learning across a range of tasks. We suggest that both mechanisms may reflect re-weighting of stable early sensory representations.

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