Academic journal article Perception and Psychophysics

Perceptual Experience and Posttest Improvements in Perceptual Accuracy and Consistency

Academic journal article Perception and Psychophysics

Perceptual Experience and Posttest Improvements in Perceptual Accuracy and Consistency

Article excerpt

Two experiments investigated the relationship between perceptual experience (during practice) and posttest improvements in perceptual accuracy and consistency. Experiment 1 investigated the potential relationship between how often knowledge of results (KR) is provided during a practice session and posttest improvements in perceptual accuracy. Experiment 2 investigated the potential relationship between how often practice (PR) is provided during a practice session and posttest improvements in perceptual consistency. The results of both experiments are consistent with previous findings that perceptual accuracy improves only when practice includes KR and that perceptual consistency improves regardless of whether practice includes KR. In addition, the results showed that although there is a relationship between how often KR is provided during a practice session and posttest improvements in perceptual accuracy, there is no relationship between how often PR is provided during a practice session and posttest improvements in consistency.

Perceptual learning is the improvement of perceptual skill with practice; it is the process of becoming a better perceiver (Epstein, 1967; Fahle & Poggio, 2002; E. J. Gibson, 1969; E. J. Gibson & Pick, 2000; Goldstone, 1998). Although repeated experience in a perceptual task is required for perceptual learning to occur, different kinds of perceptual experience lead to different kinds of improvement in perceptual skill. The consistency of a perceptual report is the degree to which stimuli can be differentiated on a perceptual scale. Consistency of perceptual reports improves with repeated experience in a perceptual task regardless of whether that experience includes any explicit feedback about task performance (Fahle &Edelman, 1993; E. J. Gibson, 1969; E. J. Gibson & Bergman, 1954; Kami & Sagi, 1993; Wagman, Shockley, Riley, & Turvey, 2001). Given that repeated perceptual experience itself is sufficient to improve perceptual consistency, such improvements have been termed "genuine perceptual learning" (E. J. Gibson, 1969; J. J. Gibson & E. J. Gibson, 1955).

The accuracy of a perceptual report is the degree to which the perceived stimulus value matches the actual stimulus value. Unlike consistency of perceptual reports, the accuracy of perceptual reports improves only when experience in a perceptual task includes explicit feedback about task performance (E. J. Gibson, 1969; E. J. Gibson & Bergman, 1954; Quinn, Palmer, & Slater, 1999). However, such feedback must provide information about how a perceived stimulus value compares with the actual stimulus value (Withagen & Michaels, 2005). This type of feedback (knowledge of results, or KR) allows the perceiver to calibrate the perceptual scale with respect to the actual metrical values and thus brings about improvements in accuracy (E. J. Gibson, 1969; Wagman et al., 2001).

In general, experiments on perceptual learning include a pretest, a practice session (or sessions), and a posttest Typically, when KR is provided in such experiments, it is provided after every trial in a practice session (see Fable, Edelman, & Poggio, 1995; E. J. Gibson & Bergman, 1954; Jacobs, Michaels, & Runeson, 2000; Michaels & de Vries, 1998; Quinn et al., 1999; Wagman et al., 2001; Withagen & Michaels, 2004,2005). Although such work has shown that providing KR after every practice trial is sufficient to improve posttest perceptual accuracy, it has not shown that doing so is necessary. That is, the common practice of providing KR on every practice trial has precluded an investigation of any potential relationship between how often KR is provided during a practice session and posttest improvements in perceptual accuracy. This relationship may provide insight into the role that KR plays in bringing about improvements hi perceptual accuracy (see Wagman, Carello, Schmidt, & Turvey, 2006; Withagen & Michaels, 2005). …

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