Contributions of Procedure and Stimulus Learning to Early, Rapid Perceptual Improvements

Jeanette A. Ortiz*, Beverly A. Wright

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Improvements in performance on many perceptual skills can occur with only a single training session. Of interest here is what aspects of the training experience are being learned during this brief exposure. Although there is considerable evidence that learning associated with specific feature values of the stimulus used in training (stimulus learning) contributes to these rapid improvements, there has been little direct investigation of the possibility that other types of learning do so as well. Here the authors show that not only stimulus learning but also learning of more general aspects of the training experience (procedure learning) contributed to rapid improvements in performance on interaural time difference discrimination. However, practice on the type of judgment to be made did not appear to aid performance (no task learning). These results are consistent with physiological reports that different neural mechanisms are engaged at different time points during even a brief training session, and imply that the circuits that are engaged and likely modified vary in the degree of their selectivity to the target condition. Such changes presumably enable further learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-194
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2009


  • auditory
  • human
  • interaural time difference
  • perceptual learning
  • procedural learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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