Perceptual Learning, Representations and Their Development

Dominic Michael Dwyer, Matthew E. Mundy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Otherpeer-review


While the main concern of associative theory pertains to the rules governing the formation of associations between the central representations of events in the world, associative theorists have also considered the manner in which experience with particular stimuli influences the ways they are represented. This concern is, in essence, with the question of how representations are developed as a product of experience and instantiates one perspective on the broader topic of perceptual learning. The relationships between perceptual learning within associative and psychophysical traditions, and the key empirical insights from the associative tradition regarding the effects of exposure schedule, are described. These exposure schedule effects can be explained as the enduring products of short-term processes of adaptation on the development of stimulus representations. Functional imaging studies of perceptual learning are considered to help address questions posed, but not answered, by behavioral studies: namely whether perceptual learning is best understood in terms of stimulus-driven or memory/attentional mechanisms, and whether the structure of exposure affects the quality of representational development during perceptual learning or merely the quantity of learning.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Wiley Handbook on the Cognitive Neuroscience of Learning
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781118650813
ISBN (Print)9781118650943
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Adaptation
  • Associative learning
  • Gibson
  • Habituation
  • Perceptual learning
  • Representation development
  • Stimulus decomposition

Cite this