01/01/2012 Biology Medicine Psychology
DOI: 10.1068/p7216 SemanticScholar ID: 10481745 MAG: 2121839507

Eye and Hand Movements during Reconstruction of Spatial Memory

Publication Summary

Recent behavioural and biological evidence indicates common mechanisms serving working memory and attention (eg Awh et al, 2006 Neuroscience 139 201–208). This study explored the role of spatial attention and visual search in an adapted Corsi spatial memory task. Eye movements and touch responses were recorded from participants who recalled locations (signalled by colour or shape change) from an array presented either simultaneously or sequentially. The time delay between target presentation and recall (0,5, or 10 s) and the number of locations to be remembered (2–5) were also manipulated. Analysis of the response phase revealed subjects were less accurate (touch data) and fixated longer (eye data) when responding to sequentially presented targets suggesting higher cognitive effort. Fixation duration on target at recall was also influenced by whether spatial location was initially signalled by colour or shape change. Finally, we found that the sequence tasks encouraged longer fixations on the signalled targets than simultaneous viewing during encoding, but no difference was observed during recall. We conclude that the attentional manipulations (colour/shape) mainly affected the eye movement parameters, whereas the memory manipulation (sequential versus simultaneous, number of items) mainly affected the performance of the hand during recall, and thus the latter is more important for ascertaining if an item is remembered or forgotten. In summary, the nature of the stimuli that is used and how it is presented play key roles in determining subject performance and behaviour during spatial memory tasks.

CAER Authors

Avatar Image for Richard Allen

Dr. Richard Allen

University of Leeds - Associate Professor

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