Dr Ben Webb, University of Nottingham
Learning and adaptation in sensory systems
Learning and adaptation are universal features of sensory systems. Together they enable sensory processing to react flexibly in response to changes in the statistical regularities of the environment and the behavioural objectives of an organism. Although there is a long history of investigating visual adaptation and perceptual learning in isolation, the extent to which they interact with one another is unknown. In this talk, I will argue that that learning and adaptation are not independent plastic processes, but rather interact in a functionally meaningful manner. I will demonstrate that learning completely reconfigures the classic behavioural signatures of adaptation, and that classic gain control models of adaptation cannot account for this novel interaction. The learned reconfiguration of adapted discriminative accuracy indicates that the behavioural signatures of adaptation are flexible, changing the sort of inferences we can make about the mechanisms underlying adaptation-induced changes to performance.