Rapid and long-lasting learning of feature binding

Amit Yashar, Marisa Carrasco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


How are features integrated (bound) into objects and how can this process be facilitated? Here we investigated the role of rapid perceptual learning in feature binding and its long-lasting effects. By isolating the contributions of individual features from their conjunctions between training and test displays, we demonstrate for the first time that training can rapidly and substantially improve feature binding. Observers trained on a conjunction search task consisting of a rapid display with one target-conjunction, then tested with a new target-conjunction. Features were the same between training and test displays. Learning transferred to the new target when its conjunction was presented as a distractor, but not when only its component features were presented in different conjunction distractors during training. Training improvement lasted for up to 16 months, but, in all conditions, it was specific to the trained target. Our findings suggest that with short training observers' ability to bind two specific features into an object is improved, and that this learning effect can last for over a year. Moreover, our findings show that while the short-term learning effect reflects activation of presented items and their binding, long-term consolidation is task specific.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-138
Number of pages9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by NIH - Grant R01 EY016200 (MC). We thank Yang Hu and Lu Ye for their help with data collection and Rachel Denison, Ian Donovan, Laura Dugué, Ricardo Max and Mariel Roberts for comments on previous versions of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier B.V.


  • Conjunction search
  • Feature binding
  • Perceptual learning
  • Visual search

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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