Stimulus uncertainty in auditory perceptual learning

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Stimulus uncertainty produced by variations in a target stimulus to be detected or discriminated, impedes perceptual learning under some, but not all experimental conditions. To account for those discrepancies, it has been proposed that uncertainty is detrimental to learning when the interleaved stimuli or tasks are similar to each other but not when they are sufficiently distinct, or when it obstructs the downstream search required to gain access to fine-grained sensory information, as suggested by the Reverse Hierarchy Theory (RHT). The focus of the current review is on the effects of uncertainty on the perceptual learning of speech and non-speech auditory signals. Taken together, the findings from the auditory modality suggest that in addition to the accounts already described, uncertainty may contribute to learning when categorization of stimuli to phonological or acoustic categories is involved. Therefore, it appears that the differences reported between the learning of non-speech and speech-related parameters are not an outcome of inherent differences between those two domains, but rather due to the nature of the tasks often associated with those different stimuli. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.




Banai, K., & Amitay, S. (2012). Stimulus uncertainty in auditory perceptual learning. Vision Research, 61, 83–88.

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