Abstract

Perceptual learning is the improvement in perceptual performance through training or exposure. Here, we used fMRI before and after extensive behavioral training to investigate the effects of perceptual learning on the recognition of objects under challenging viewing conditions. Objects belonged either to trained or untrained categories. Trained categories were further subdivided into trained and untrained exemplars and were coupled with high or low monetary rewards during training. After a 3-day training, object recognition was markedly improved. Although there was a considerable transfer of learning to untrained exemplars within categories, an enhancing effect of reward reinforcement was specific to trained exemplars. fMRI showed that hippocampus responses to both trained and untrained exemplars of trained categories were enhanced by perceptual learning and correlated with the effect of reward reinforcement. Our results suggest a key role of hippocampus in object recognition after perceptual learning.

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