Looking, language, and memory: bridging research from the visual world and visual search paradigms

F. Huettig, C.N.L. Olivers, R.J. Hartsuiker

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In the visual world paradigm as used in psycholinguistics, eye gaze (i.e. visual orienting) is measured in order to draw conclusions about linguistic processing. However, current theories are underspecified with respect to how visual attention is guided on the basis of linguistic representations. In the visual search paradigm as used within the area of visual attention research, investigators have become more and more interested in how visual orienting is affected by higher order representations, such as those involved in memory and language. Within this area more specific models of orienting on the basis of visual information exist, but they need to be extended with mechanisms that allow for language-mediated orienting. In the present paper we review the evidence from these two different - but highly related - research areas. We arrive at a model in which working memory serves as the nexus in which long-term visual as well as linguistic representations (i.e. types) are bound to specific locations (i.e. tokens or indices). The model predicts that the interaction between language and visual attention is subject to a number of conditions, such as the presence of the guiding representation in working memory, capacity limitations, and cognitive control mechanisms. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-150
JournalActa Psychologica
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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