Rapid changes in brain structure predict improvements induced by perceptual learning

Thomas Ditye, Ryota Kanai, Bahador Bahrami, Neil G. Muggleton, Geraint Rees, Vincent Walsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Practice-dependent changes in brain structure can occur in task relevant brain regions as a result of extensive training in complex motor tasks and long-term cognitive training but little is known about the impact of visual perceptual learning on brain structure. Here we studied the effect of five days of visual perceptual learning in a motion-color conjunction search task using anatomical MRI. We found rapid changes in gray matter volume in the right posterior superior temporal sulcus, an area sensitive to coherently moving stimuli, that predicted the degree to which an individual's performance improved with training. Furthermore, behavioral improvements were also predicted by volumetric changes in an extended white matter region underlying the visual cortex. These findings point towards quick and efficient plastic neural mechanisms that enable the visual brain to deal effectively with changing environmental demands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-212
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2013


  • Cortical volume
  • Perceptual learning
  • Plasticity
  • Superior temporal sulcus
  • Visual search
  • White matter


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