Summary: It shows the study of neurological changes that occur during learning to improve the perception of closely related visual cues.

Source: Max Planck Institute

Our view of the world is often thought to be relatively stable. However, like all our cognitive functions, the visual process is shaped by our experience.

During both development and adulthood, learning can change perceptions. For example, improved similar patterns Visual discrimination is an important learning skill for reading.

In a new research study published in Current Biology, Scientists have recently discovered the neural changes that occur when learning to improve visual acuity.

This study was developed by first author Dr. Joseph Schumacher and senior author Dr. David Fetzpatrick at the Max Planck Florida Institute of Neuroscience for the development of a cognitive approach to the study of the brain.

Researchers have simulated the activity of several single neurons during the day to monitor changes in visual acuity, in a new animal model, the tree shrew.

The shrub is a small mammal with a similar visual characteristics to humans, with high visual acuity and neurons in the brain in the same systemic position. The researchers show that these animals can learn complex behavioral tasks, which makes them ideal for understanding how experience shapes visual perception.

In this study, tree shrubs were trained to discriminate between very similar images: identical black lines that vary in direction (22.5 degrees). In the practice, the presentation of the lines is given a juice in one direction.

Over the course of days, tree trunks have learned to discriminate between the two identical images, licking only the response in the awarded direction and licking the lines in the unmarked direction.

The scientists combined this behavioral function with the neural activity parameters in V1, which are important areas of the brain for visual processing. Nerve cells in this area move in the direction of visual inputs such as light-dark edges.

Individual nerves show a ‘choice’ for certain edge directions, responding to these directions with high activity and gradually responding with low activity or no movement towards the edges.

In this way, a multi-dimensional visual acuity activates a subdivision of certain neurons and creates a neural activity pattern that includes information needed for visual acuity.

Schumacher and colleagues found that the teaching of visual discrimination in the Tree Sweat was accompanied by a widening of the neural patterns of the two images.

This is mainly due to the increase in the amount of nerve activity in the direction of the reward stimulus. But this was not just a general increase in neurological responses to the award.

As the scientists closely examined the changes, they found that this was moderate in the changes in the activity of the unique neurons.

To fully understand the impact of learning on visual perception, the authors then examined whether neuronal changes that improve visual acuity continue outside the context of learning.

This is a tree sweater
The shrub is a small mammal with a similar visual characteristics to humans, with high visual acuity and neurons in the brain in the same systemic position. Image is in the public domain.

Interestingly, not only did their nerve endings continue, but trained tree trunks also noticed changes in their ability to discriminate against others. This includes both improvements to some stimulus directions and other disorders: Behavioral changes were expected in light of the changes in these specific neurons’ responses.

First author Joe Schumacher states: “This work shows changes based on specific experiences in the activity of neurons that affect the perception of visual stimuli.

The laboratory now plans to integrate this approach with new technologies to open up the processes and changes that occur in many neurons to reconcile cognitive learning.

watch out

This is a cartoon of a man with a head made of many minds.

Researchers at the Pre-Patrick Laboratory are exploring these questions in the tree shrew viewing system and are gaining new insights into cognitive learning that can affect a wide range of learning disabilities.

So visual education research news

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Source: Max Planck Institute
Contact Press Office – Max Planck Institute
Image The image is in the public domain.

Preliminary study Closed access.
Choosing to provide neural code in V1 provides a good bias lesson on tree shrew”By Joseph W. Schumacher and others Current Biology


Choosing to provide neural code in V1 provides a good bias lesson on tree shrew


  • Tree shrubs learn to encourage positive attitudes.
  • Learning is accompanied by improved bias in V1 neurons
  • Enrichment is associated with changes in function-related neurons.
  • Continuity of these changes leads to perceived bias in behavioral performance.


Visual discrimination is improved by training, and this phenomenon is thought to show plastic changes in the responses of neurons in the primary cortical cortex (V1). However, the identity of the changing neurons, the nature of the changes, and the consequences of these changes to other visual characteristics are unclear.

We used chronic. In vivo 2-Photon Calcium imaging learns Go / No-Go directional bias to monitor neurons’ response in V1 tree shrews.

We have seen an increase in performance-related stimuli related to performance and reward-based stimuli based on a set of selected neurons, and adjacent directions of non-reward stimuli that increase neuronal bias. When these neurons respond to reward stimuli, learning goes hand in hand with selective improvement, which further enhances their ability to differentiate functional stimuli.

These changes predict continued and observed improvements and other biased performance outside of the trained practice, which can have serious consequences for understanding by providing selected and ongoing learning-based plastics in V1.

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