How odgcrnwi becomes crowding: Stimulus-specific learning reduces crowding
Processes underlying crowding in visual letter recognition were examined by investigating effects of training. Experiment 1 revealed that training reduces crowding mainly for trained strings. This was corroborated in Experiment 2, where no training effects were obvious after 3 days of training when strings changed from trial to trial. Experiment 3 specified that after a short amount of training, learning effects remained specific to trained strings and also to the trained retinal eccentricity and the interletter spacing used in training. Transfer to other than trained conditions was observed only after further training. Experiment 4 showed that transfer occurred earlier when words were used as stimuli. These results thus demonstrate that part of crowding results from the absence of higher level representations of the stimulus. Such representations can be acquired through learning visual properties of the stimulus.