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Zoological Research
Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
ISSN: 2095-8137
Vol. 31, No. 2, 2010, pp. 155-162
Bioline Code: zr10023
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

Zoological Research, Vol. 31, No. 2, 2010, pp. 155-162

 en Contrast Detection Learning Improves Visual Contrast Sensitivity of Cat
Hua, Tian-Miao; Wang, Zhen-Hua; Xu, Jin-Wang & Diao, Jian-Gang


Psychological studies on human subjects show that contrast detection learning promote learner’s sensitivity to visual stimulus contrast. The underlying neural mechanisms remain unknown. In this study, three cats (Felis catus) were trained to perform monocularly a contrast detection task by two-alternative forced choice method. The perceptual ability of each cat improved remarkably with learning as indicated by a significantly increased contrast sensitivity to visual stimuli. The learning effect displayed an evident specificity to the eye employed for learning but could partially transfer to the naïve eye, prompting the possibility that contrast detection learning might cause neural plasticity before and after the information from both eyes are merged in the visual pathway. Further, the contrast sensitivity improvement was evident basically around the spatial frequency (SF) used for learning, which suggested that contrast detection learning effect showed, to some extent, a SF specificity. This study indicates that cat exhibits a property of contrast detection learning similar to human subjects and can be used as an animal model for subsequent investigations on the neural correlates that mediate learning-induced contrast sensitivity improvement in humans.

Visual; Contrast detection; Learning; Contrast sensitivity; Cat

© Copyright 2010 Kunming Institute of Zoology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences
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