Eye movements as retrieval cues?

I’ll be speaking on Friday in the International Colloquia Series at the School of Psychology at Cardiff University on my newest line of research: figuring out whether eye movements cue memory retrieval. Eye movements have been proposed as a possible analog to speech-based verbal rehearsal, potentially useful for retrieving ordered spatial locations. My data support the idea that eye movements cue retrieval, but calling this process rehearsal is dubious. My talk is at 2:10 pm, LT3.

Title: Tracking maintenance of visual memories using eye movements

Abstract: Though rehearsal of verbal information has been extensively studied and described, the processes available to support memory for visual information remain mysterious. Motor activities, particularly eye movements, have been suggested as a basis for rehearsing visual-spatial memories, analogous to articulatory support for maintaining verbal information. Eye movements toward locations previously occupied by stimuli may reflect covert attempts to retrieve information about those items. I present evidence linking fixations during retention intervals in memory tasks to response accuracy, which is consistent with the idea that eye movements may be used as a cue to recover visual-spatial information. The strength of these relationships varies depending on the sort of visual material maintained, and varies between young adults and children. I shall discuss implications of these relationships for models of working memory. Though eye movements and response accuracy are related, the evidence is not consistent with the proposition that eye movements serve as the basis for a specialized rehearsal module of visual-spatial memories.

Slides, in case you are joining the periscope of the talk, can be found here.

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— February 2, 2016

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