Improving vision in adult amblyopia by perceptual learning

Uri Polat*, Tova Ma-Naim, Michael Belkin, Dov Sagi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Practicing certain visual tasks leads, as a result of a process termed "perceptual learning," to a significant improvement in performance. Learning is specific for basic stimulus features such as local orientation, retinal location, and eye of presentation, suggesting modification of neuronal processes at the primary visual cortex in adults. It is not known, however, whether such low-level learning affects higher-level visual tasks such as recognition. By systematic low-level training of an adult visual system malfunctioning as a result of abnormal development (leading to amblyopia) of the primary visual cortex during the "critical period," we show here that induction of low-level changes might yield significant perceptual benefits that transfer to higher visual tasks. The training procedure resulted in a 2-fold improvement in contrast sensitivity and in letter-recognition tasks. These findings demonstrate that perceptual learning can improve basic representations within an adult visual system that did not develop during the critical period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6692-6697
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number17
StatePublished - 27 Apr 2004


  • Development
  • Plasticity
  • Spatial interactions
  • Visual cortex


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