Historically, different groups of researchers have investigated the mechanisms of perceptual learning and motor learning. For sensory cortex, neurophysiological and psychophysical findings have linked changes in perception with altered neuronal tuning properties. However, less information has been forthcoming from motor cortex. This review compares recent findings on perceptual and motor learning, and suggests that similar mechanisms govern both. These mechanisms involve changes in both the center of neuronal tuning functions and their width or slope. The former reflects the values of the sensory or motor parameters that a neuron encodes, and the latter adjusts the encoding sensitivity. These similarities suggest that specific unifying principles for neural coding and computation exist across sensory and motor domains.
Viewing and doing: similar cortical mechanisms for perceptual and motor learning
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