Learning two things at once: differential constraints on the acquisition and consolidation of perceptual learning

K. Banai, J. A. Ortiz, J. D. Oppenheimer, B. A. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Learning is often prevented by events that occur after training, an outcome that is usually attributed to the disruption of consolidation-the transfer of learning to long-term memory. Here, we provide evidence from perceptual learning that improvements in performance can also be blocked by intervening events that occur during the acquisition phase of learning-the period of active practice. Listeners improved on each of two conditions of auditory temporal-interval discrimination (100 and 350 ms) when the two were practiced consecutively, even though that is a classic disruption-of-consolidation regimen. However, when practice on these two conditions was interleaved, there was no learning on either condition. The failure to improve in the interleaved case indicates that, at least in some circumstances, learning can be prevented during acquisition by events that do not disrupt consolidation itself. These results thus suggest that acquisition and consolidation are distinct phases in human learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)436-444
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - 20 Jan 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Julia Huyck, Nicole Marrone, Andrew Sabin, Dan Sanes and Yuxuan Zhang for their assistance at various stages of this project. We also thank Christophe Micheyl and an anonymous reviewer for their insightful comments on a previous version of this manuscript. This work was supported by NIH/NIDCD , the Hugh Knowles Center for Clinical and Basic Science in Hearing and its Disorders (at Northwestern University ) and by the Israel Science Foundation ( LHSI 1842/07 ).


  • acquisition
  • auditory learning
  • consolidation
  • generalization
  • perceptual learning
  • temporal interval discrimination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Learning two things at once: differential constraints on the acquisition and consolidation of perceptual learning'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this