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Acquisition versus consolidation of auditory perceptual learning using mixed-training regimens

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posted on 14.01.2019, 11:51 by David MaidmentDavid Maidment, Hi Jee Kang, Emma C. Gill, Sygal Amitay
© 2015 Maidment et al. Learning is considered to consist of two distinct phases-acquisition and consolidation. Acquisition can be disrupted when short periods of training on more than one task are interleaved, whereas consolidation can be disrupted when a second task is trained after the first has been initiated. Here we investigated the conditions governing the disruption to acquisition and consolidation during mixed-training regimens in which primary and secondary amplitude modulation tasks were either interleaved or presented consecutively. The secondary task differed from the primary task in either task-irrelevant (carrier frequency) or task-relevant (modulation rate) stimulus features while requiring the same perceptual judgment (amplitude modulation depth discrimination), or shared both irrelevant and relevant features but required a different judgment (amplitude modulation rate discrimination). Based on previous literature we predicted that acquisition would be disrupted by varying the task-relevant stimulus feature during training (stimulus interference), and that consolidation would be disrupted by varying the perceptual judgment required (task interference). We found that varying the task-relevant or -irrelevant stimulus features failed to disrupt acquisition but did disrupt consolidation, whereas mixing two tasks requiring a different perceptual judgment but sharing the same stimulus features disrupted both acquisition and consolidation. Thus, a distinction between acquisition and consolidation phases of perceptual learning cannot simply be attributed to (task-relevant) stimulus versus task interference. We propose instead that disruption occurs during acquisition when mixing two tasks requiring a perceptual judgment based on different cues, whereas consolidation is always disrupted regardless of whether different stimulus features or tasks are mixed. The current study not only provides a novel insight into the underlying mechanisms of perceptual learning, but also has practical implications for the optimal design and delivery of training programs that aim to remediate perceptual difficulties.


This research was supported by the Medical Research Council, United Kingdom (http://, Grant U135097130. Emma Gill was funded by an Action on Hearing Loss (http://www. Summer Studentship (SG36).



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MAIDMENT, D. ... et al., 2015. Acquisition versus consolidation of auditory perceptual learning using mixed-training regimens. PLoS ONE, 10(3): e0121953.


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