Perceptual learning refers to improvement in perception thresholds with practice, however, extended training sessions show reduced performance during training, interfering with learning. These effects were taken to indicate a tight link between sensory adaptation and learning. Here we show a dissociation between adaptation and consolidated learning. Participants trained with a texture discrimination task, in which visual processing time is limited by a temporal target-to-mask window defined as the Stimulus-Onset-Asynchrony (SOA). An initial training phase, previously shown to produce efficient learning, was followed by training structures with varying numbers of SOAs. Largest interference with learning was found in structures containing the largest SOA density, when SOA was gradually decreased. When SOAs were largely kept unchanged, learning was effective. All training structures yielded the same within-session performance reduction, as expected from sensory adaptation. The results point to a dissociation between within-day effects, which depend on the number of trials per se regardless of their temporal structure, and consolidation effects observed on the following day, which were mediated by the temporal structure of practice. These results add a new dimension to consolidation in perceptual learning, suggesting that the degree of its effectiveness depends on variations in temporal properties of the visual stimuli.
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