Visual perceptual learning (VPL) is typically specific to the trained location and feature. However, the degree of specificity depends upon particular training protocols. Manipulating covert spatial attention during training facilitates learning transfer to other locations. Here we investigated whether feature-based attention (FBA), which enhances the representation of particular features throughout the visual field, facilitates VPL transfer, and how long such an effect would last. To do so, we implemented a novel task in which observers discriminated a stimulus orientation relative to two reference angles presented simultaneously before each block. We found that training with FBA enabled remarkable location transfer, reminiscent of its global effect across the visual field, but preserved orientation specificity in VPL. Critically, both the perceptual improvement and location transfer persisted after 1 year. Our results reveal robust, long-lasting benefits induced by FBA in VPL, and have translational implications for improving generalization of training protocols in visual rehabilitation.
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