Real-life experience modifies early electrophysiological responses in the visual system

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To examine whether experience can alter the sensitivity of the visual system to particular aspects of visual processing, 17 earthquake survivors and 17 controls were exposed to pictures of objects, and were required to identify the unbroken ones by checking for flaws on the surface. The electrophysiological results indicated that approximately 150 ms after presentation of a visual stimulus, the earthquake survivors showed an enhanced negativity (N1) as compared with the controls. This finding supports the claim that the pattern of neural activity associated with the early stages of object perception can be modified by real-world experiences.

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