Strategies optimize the detection of motion transients

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Strategies are implicity formed when a task is consistent and can be used to improve performance. To investigate how strategies can alter perceptual performance, I trained animals in a reaction time (RT) detection task in which the probability of a fixed duration motion pulse appearing varied over time in a consistent manner. Consistent with previous studies suggesting the implicit representation of task timing, I found that RTs were inversely related to the probability of the pulse appearing and decreased with training. I then inferred the sensory integration underlying responses using behavioral reverse correlation analysis. This analysis revealed that training and anticipation optimized detection by improving the correlation between sensory integration and the spatiotemporal extent of the motion pulse. Moreover, I found that these improvements in sensory integration could largely explain observed changes in the distribution of RT with training and anticipation. These results suggest that training can increase detection performance by optimizing sensory integration according to implicitly formed representations of the likelihood and nature of the stimulus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10
Pages (from-to)429-440
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of vision
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 10 2006


  • Adaptive filtering
  • Decision variable
  • Reaction time
  • Reverse correlation
  • Temporal strategy
  • Temporal summation


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