James Pasley

Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Karlene Ball, Bettina Beard, Daniel Roenker

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Previous studies have shown that practice can improve adults’ ability to discriminate between two similar high frequency spatial patterns. Adults trained on this task also demonstrated significant improvement on a standard acuity test which is dependent on high frequency information. The aim of this study was to extend the range of training patterns to low (1.7 c/deg) and middle (4.0 c/deg.) spatial frequencies, and to determine if practice in a similar spatial frequency discrimination task would transfer to other spatial tasks dependent on low frequency information. Fourteen subjects in three age groups (young, middle and old) were tested before and after training on four spatial tasks: grating discrimination, grating detection, bisection thresholds and Vernier acuity. Adults trained on 1.7 c/deg showed significant improvement on the discriminability task, while those trained on 4.0 c/deg did not. It was found that improvement on the low spatial frequency discrimination task did not transfer to any of the other tasks. However, it was shown that the degree of improvement was similar for all age groups. This suggests that plasticity in the human visual system remains relatively constant throughout adulthood.


Biological Psychology | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences