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Does physical exercise and congruent visual stimulation enhance perceptual learning?

Campana, Gianluca; Fongoni, Laura; Astle, Andrew; McGraw, Paul V

Does physical exercise and congruent visual stimulation enhance perceptual learning? Thumbnail


Gianluca Campana

Laura Fongoni

Andrew Astle

Professor of Visual Neuroscience


Purpose: There is currently great interest in methods that can modulate brain plasticity, both in terms of understanding the basic mechanisms and in the remedial application to situations of sensory loss. Recent work has focussed on how different manipulations might be combined to produce new settings that reveal synergistic actions. Here we ask whether a prominent example of adult visual plasticity, called perceptual learning, is modified by other environmental factors, such as visual stimulation and physical exercise. Methods: We quantified the magnitude, rate and transfer of perceptual learning using a peripheral Vernier alignment task, in two groups of subjects matched for a range of baseline factors (e.g. age, starting Vernier threshold, baseline fitness). We trained subjects for 5 days on a Vernier alignment task. In one group we introduced an exercise protocol with congruent visual stimulation. The control group received the same visual stimulation, but did not exercise prior to measurement of Vernier thresholds. Results: Although the task generated large amounts of learning (~40%) and some transfer to untrained conditions in both groups, there were no specific benefits associated with either the addition of an exercise schedule or congruent visual stimulation. Conclusion: In adults, short periods of physical exercise and visual stimulation do not enhance perceptual learning.


Campana, G., Fongoni, L., Astle, A., & McGraw, P. V. (2020). Does physical exercise and congruent visual stimulation enhance perceptual learning?. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 40(5), 680-691.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 26, 2020
Online Publication Date Jul 12, 2020
Publication Date 2020-09
Deposit Date Jun 29, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jul 13, 2021
Journal Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics
Print ISSN 0275-5408
Electronic ISSN 1475-1313
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 40
Issue 5
Pages 680-691
Keywords exercise, visual stimulation, perceptual learning, training, Vernier alignment
Public URL
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