ERIC Number: EJ784790
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Feb
Reference Count: 0
Understanding the Function of Visual Short-Term Memory: Transsaccadic Memory, Object Correspondence, and Gaze Correction
Hollingworth, Andrew; Richard, Ashleigh M.; Luck, Steven J.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, v137 n1 p163-181 Feb 2008
Visual short-term memory (VSTM) has received intensive study over the past decade, with research focused on VSTM capacity and representational format. Yet, the function of VSTM in human cognition is not well understood. Here, the authors demonstrate that VSTM plays an important role in the control of saccadic eye movements. Intelligent human behavior depends on directing the eyes to goal-relevant objects in the world, yet saccades are very often inaccurate and require correction. The authors hypothesized that VSTM is used to remember the features of the current saccade target so that it can be rapidly reacquired after an errant saccade, a task faced by the visual system thousands of times each day. In 4 experiments, memory-based gaze correction was accurate, fast, automatic, and largely unconscious. In addition, a concurrent VSTM load interfered with memory-based gaze correction, but a verbal short-term memory load did not. These findings demonstrate that VSTM plays a direct role in a fundamentally important aspect of visually guided behavior, and they suggest the existence of previously unknown links between VSTM representations and the occulomotor system.
Descriptors: Short Term Memory, Visualization, Eye Movements, Visual Perception, Experiments, Behavior
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A