Brief Communication | Published:

The essential role of stimulus temporal patterning in enabling perceptual learning

Nature Neurosciencevolume 8pages14971499 (2005) | Download Citation



Little is known about how temporal stimulus factors influence perceptual learning. Here we demonstrate an essential role of stimulus temporal patterning in enabling perceptual learning by showing that 'unlearnable' contrast and motion-direction discrimination (resulting from random interleaving of stimuli) can be readily learned when stimuli are practiced in a fixed temporal pattern. This temporal patterning does not facilitate learning by reducing stimulus uncertainty; further, learning enabled by temporal patterning can later generalize to randomly presented stimuli.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Yu, C., Klein, S.A. & Levi, D.M. J. Vis. 4, 169–182 (2004).

  2. 2

    Adini, Y., Wilkonsky, A., Haspel, R., Tsodyks, M. & Sagi, D. J. Vis. 4, 993–1005 (2004).

  3. 3

    Lu, Z.L. & Dosher, B.A. J. Vis. 4, 44–56 (2004).

  4. 4

    Fiorentini, A. & Berardi, N. Nature 287, 43–44 (1980).

  5. 5

    Li, R.W., Levi, D.M. & Klein, S.A. Nat. Neurosci. 7, 178–183 (2004).

  6. 6

    Saarinen, J. & Levi, D.M. Vision Res. 35, 519–527 (1995).

  7. 7

    Fine, I. & Jacobs, R.A. J. Vis. 2, 190–203 (2002).

  8. 8

    Fahle, M. Curr. Opin. Neurobiol. 15, 154–160 (2005).

  9. 9

    Tsodyks, M., Adini, Y. & Sagi, D. Neural Netw. 17, 823–832 (2004).

Download references


We thank S.-G. He for helpful comments. This research was supported by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Shanghai Municipal Government and the US National Institutes of Health (R01-04776 and R01-01728).

Author information

Author notes

  1. Shu-Guang Kuai and Jun-Yun Zhang: These authors contributed equally to this work.


  1. Institute of Neuroscience, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, 200031, China

    • Shu-Guang Kuai
    • , Jun-Yun Zhang
    •  & Cong Yu
  2. School of Optometry and Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, University of California, Berkeley, 94720, California, USA

    • Stanley A Klein
    •  & Dennis M Levi


  1. Search for Shu-Guang Kuai in:

  2. Search for Jun-Yun Zhang in:

  3. Search for Stanley A Klein in:

  4. Search for Dennis M Levi in:

  5. Search for Cong Yu in:

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Cong Yu.

About this article

Publication history




Issue Date


Further reading