How memory mechanisms are a key component in the guidance of our eye movements: Evidence from the global effect

J.D. Silvis, S. van der Stigchel

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Investigating eye movements has been a promising approach to uncover the role of visual working memory in early attentional processes. Prior research has already demonstrated that eye movements in search tasks are more easily drawn toward stimuli that show similarities to working memory content, as compared with neutral stimuli. Previous saccade tasks, however, have always required a selection process, thereby automatically recruiting working memory. The present study was an attempt to confirm the role of working memory in oculomotor selection in an unbiased saccade task that rendered memory mechanisms irrelevant. Participants executed a saccade in a display with two elements, without any instruction to aim for one particular element. The results show that when two objects appear simultaneously, a working memory match attracts the first saccade more profoundly than do mismatch objects, an effect that was present throughout the saccade latency distribution. These findings demonstrate that memory plays a fundamental biasing role in the earliest competitive processes in the selection of visual objects, even when working memory is not recruited during selection. © 2013 Psychonomic Society, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-362
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Volume21
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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