Perceptual learning modifies untrained pursuit eye movements

Sarit F.A. Szpiro, Miriam Spering, Marisa Carrasco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Perceptual learning improves detection and discrimination of relevant visual information in mature humans, revealing sensory plasticity. Whether visual perceptual learning affects motor responses is unknown. Here we implemented a protocol that enabled us to address this question. We tested a perceptual response (motion direction estimation, in which observers overestimate motion direction away from a reference) and a motor response (voluntary smooth pursuit eye movements). Perceptual training led to greater overestimation and, remarkably, it modified untrained smooth pursuit. In contrast, pursuit training did not affect overestimation in either pursuit or perception, even though observers in both training groups were exposed to the same stimuli for the same time period. A second experiment revealed that estimation training also improved discrimination, indicating that overestimation may optimize perceptual sensitivity. Hence, active perceptual training is necessary to alter perceptual responses, and an acquired change in perception suffices to modify pursuit, a motor response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of vision
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2014


  • Learning transfer
  • Motion perception
  • Perceptual estimation
  • Perceptual learning
  • Smooth pursuit eye movements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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