Visual learning induces changes in resting-state fMRI multivariate pattern of information

Roberto Guidotti, Cosimo Del Gratta, Antonello Baldassarre, Gian Luca Romani, Maurizio Corbetta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


When measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in the resting state (R-fMRI), spontaneous activity is correlated between brain regions that are anatomically and functionally related. Learning and/or task performance can induce modulation of the resting synchronization between brain regions. Moreover, at the neuronal level spontaneous brain activity can replay patterns evoked by a previously presented stimulus. Here we test whether visual learning/task performance can induce a change in the patterns of coded information in R-fMRI signals consistent with a role of spontaneous activity in representing task-relevant information. Human subjects underwent R-fMRI before and after perceptual learning on a novel visual shape orientation discrimination task. Task-evoked fMRI patterns to trained versus novel stimuli were recorded after learning was completed, and before the second R-fMRI session. Using multivariate pattern analysis on task-evoked signals, we found patterns in several cortical regions, as follows: visual cortex, V3/V3A/V7; within the default mode network, precuneus, and inferior parietal lobule; and, within the dorsal attention network, intraparietal sulcus, which discriminated between trained and novel visual stimuli. The accuracy of classification was strongly correlated with behavioral performance. Next, we measured multivariate patterns in R-fMRI signals before and after learning. The frequency and similarity of resting states representing the task/visual stimuli states increased post-learning in the same cortical regions recruited by the task. These findings support a representational role of spontaneous brain activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9786-9798
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number27
StatePublished - Jul 8 2015


  • MVPA
  • Pattern classification
  • Perceptual learning
  • Resting state
  • fMRI


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