Self-motion perception training: thresholds improve in the light but not in the dark

Hartmann, Matthias ; Furrer, Sarah ; Herzog, Michael ; Merfeld, Daniel ; Mast, Fred

In: Experimental Brain Research, 2013, vol. 226, no. 2, p. 231-240

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    We investigated perceptual learning in self-motion perception. Blindfolded participants were displaced leftward or rightward by means of a motion platform and asked to indicate the direction of motion. A total of eleven participants underwent 3,360 practice trials, distributed over twelve (Experiment 1) or 6days (Experiment 2). We found no improvement in motion discrimination in both experiments. These results are surprising since perceptual learning has been demonstrated for visual, auditory, and somatosensory discrimination. Improvements in the same task were found when visual input was provided (Experiment 3). The multisensory nature of vestibular information is discussed as a possible explanation of the absence of perceptual learning in darkness