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Title: On perceptual learning
Author: Sowden, Paul Timothy
ISNI:       0000 0001 2449 3610
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 1995
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A fundamental concern in Psychology is the extent to which we learn to perceive our world and, further, the degree to which perception remains modif"Iable even in adulthood. Yet despite the significance of these concerns, perceptual learning has been somewhat sporadically studied, and often only at a phenomenal level. This thesis proposes a new theoretical framework for perceptual learning, and argues that a multiplicity of processes have been examined under this single term. The empirical work reported in this thesis examines a range of these different learning processes, and illustrates methods by which the process/processes underlying a particular phenomenon can be revealed. Extended replications of seminal studies on 'perceptual learning' demonstrate the non-perceptual learning nature of the processes reported in those studies. Further empirical work presents new evidence for the plasticity of human vision on fundamental dimensions of visual processing. These fmdings suggest that even adults I perceptual experience is modifiable as a result of changes at an early stage of visual processing. Final empirical work considers the types of learning that may occur in the more complex and naturalistic task of detecting features in X-rays, and this leads on to an examination of visual search learning. It is concluded that, given the varied nature of the learning processes identified, a unified theory of perceptual learning may be an unrealistic goal. Instead, a detailed understanding of the different mechanisms underlying each of the identified learning processes is likely to prove more useful. Finally, it is argued that all of the identified processes, previously regarded as perceptual learning, could underlie improvements on complex 'real-world' discrimination tasks. This is illustrated through the application of the theoretical framework, developed in this thesis, to mammographic ftlm reading. It is argued that by isolating and systematically targeting each of the learning processes involved in a task, more effective training programmes could be designed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Psychology