Translating noisy sensory signals to perceptual decisions is critical for successful interactions in complex environments. Learning is known to improve perceptual judgments by filtering external noise and task-irrelevant information. Yet, little is known about the brain mechanisms that mediate learning-dependent suppression. Here, we employ ultra-high field magnetic resonance spectroscopy of GABA to test whether suppressive processing in decision-related and visual areas facilitates perceptual judgments during training. We demonstrate that parietal GABA relates to suppression of task-irrelevant information, while learning-dependent changes in visual GABA relate to enhanced performance in target detection and feature discrimination tasks. Combining GABA measurements with functional brain connectivity demonstrates that training on a target detection task involves local connectivity and disinhibition of visual cortex, while training on a feature discrimination task involves inter-cortical interactions that relate to suppressive visual processing. Our findings provide evidence that learning optimizes perceptual decisions through suppressive interactions in decision-related networks.
Adult, Brain, Decision Making, Female, Humans, Judgment, Learning, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, Male, Photic Stimulation, Visual Cortex, Visual Perception, Young Adult, gamma-Aminobutyric Acid