Perceptual learning

Merav Ahissar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The extend of adult improvement in not only complex but also simple perceptual tasks in remarkable. Although this phenomenon has been noted and studied since the middle of the 19th century, recent advances in the study of brain physiology and anatomy afford new insights. Improvement specificity suggests that changes involve early sensory cortical areas, previously thought to lose their plasticity following the first years. The critical role of selective attention, even in learning the simplest tasks, as well as the precedence of learning easy cases, suggests the involvement of high-level cortical areas. Learning easy cases is more general than learning difficult cases. This pattern suggests the involvement of both high-and low-level areas in an orderly manner, with easy learning beginning at high-level areas and harder cases being resolved by access to low-level areas. The mapping of bahavioral findings to underlying brain sites provides a unified framework for this interdisciplinary field.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)124-128
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Directions in Psychological Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1999


  • Attention
  • Cortical hierarchy
  • Feature search
  • Perceptual learning


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