Advanced

Tracking the Mind's Eye : Eye movements during mental imagery and memory retrieval

Johansson, Roger LU (2013) In Lund University Cognitive Studies 155.
Abstract
This thesis investigates the relationship between eye movements, mental imagery and memory retrieval in four studies based on eye-tracking experiments.



The first study is an investigation of eye movements during mental imagery elicited both visually and verbally. The use of complex stimuli and the development of a novel method where eye movements are recorded concurrently with verbal data enabled the above-mentioned relationship to be studied to an extent going beyond what previous research had been able to do. Eye movements were found to closely reflect content and spatial layout while participants were listening to a spoken scene description, while they were describing the same scene from memory, and while they were... (More)
This thesis investigates the relationship between eye movements, mental imagery and memory retrieval in four studies based on eye-tracking experiments.



The first study is an investigation of eye movements during mental imagery elicited both visually and verbally. The use of complex stimuli and the development of a novel method where eye movements are recorded concurrently with verbal data enabled the above-mentioned relationship to be studied to an extent going beyond what previous research had been able to do. Eye movements were found to closely reflect content and spatial layout while participants were listening to a spoken scene description, while they were describing the same scene from memory, and while they were describing a picture they had previously seen. This effect was equally strong during recall from memory irrespective of whether the scene visualised had originally been inspected visually by the participants or whether it was constructed whole-cloth from long-term memory (on the basis of a spoken scene description that the participants had previously listened to). It was also found that eye movements "to nothing" appeared both when the participants were visualising scenes while looking at a blank screen and when they were doing so in complete darkness.



The second study explored an effect frequently observed in the first study, involving a "scaling-down" during recall of participants' gaze patterns to an area smaller than that occupied by the stimulus encoded. It was found that this scaling effect correlated with spatial-imagery ability: the gaze patterns of participants with weaker spatial-imagery ability were closer in size to the encoded scene than the gaze patterns of those stronger in spatial-imagery ability.



In the third study, the role of eye movements during mental imagery was investigated in four experiments where eye movements were prohibited during either the encoding phase or the recall phase. Experiments 1 and 2 showed that maintaining central fixation during visual or auditory encoding, respectively, had no effect on how eye movements were executed during recall. Thus, oculomotor events during recall are not reproductions of those produced during encoding. In Experiments 3 and 4, central fixation was instead maintained during recall. This turned out to alter and impair scene recollection, irrespective of the modality of encoding.



Finally, in the fourth study, the functional role of eye movements in relation to memory retrieval was further investigated by means of direct eye-movement manipulation in the retrieval phase of an episodic-memory task. Four conditions were used: (1) free viewing on a blank screen, (2) maintaining central fixation, (3) viewing within a square congruent with the location of the objects to be recalled, and (4) viewing within a square incongruent with the location of the objects to be recalled. The results obtained show that gaze position plays an active and facilitatory role during memory retrieval.



The findings from these studies are discussed in the light of current theories regarding eye movements during mental imagery and memory retrieval. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
supervisor
opponent
  • Professor Spivey, Michael J., University of California, Merced
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Mental Imagery, Eye Movements, Eye-tracking, Encoding, Recall, Memory Retrieval, Episodic Memory
in
Lund University Cognitive Studies
volume
155
pages
181 pages
defense location
Sal 104, Kungshuset, LundagÄrd, Lund
defense date
2013-09-26 10:15
ISSN
1101-8453
ISBN
978-91-7473-655-7
project
Cognition, Communication and Learning
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
adcfbad4-e36c-4eef-8ed7-b110393f7a1f (old id 4000957)
alternative location
http://www.lucs.lu.se/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Johansson2013_Eversion.pdf
date added to LUP
2013-08-29 11:24:10
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:00
@phdthesis{adcfbad4-e36c-4eef-8ed7-b110393f7a1f,
  abstract     = {This thesis investigates the relationship between eye movements, mental imagery and memory retrieval in four studies based on eye-tracking experiments.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
The first study is an investigation of eye movements during mental imagery elicited both visually and verbally. The use of complex stimuli and the development of a novel method where eye movements are recorded concurrently with verbal data enabled the above-mentioned relationship to be studied to an extent going beyond what previous research had been able to do. Eye movements were found to closely reflect content and spatial layout while participants were listening to a spoken scene description, while they were describing the same scene from memory, and while they were describing a picture they had previously seen. This effect was equally strong during recall from memory irrespective of whether the scene visualised had originally been inspected visually by the participants or whether it was constructed whole-cloth from long-term memory (on the basis of a spoken scene description that the participants had previously listened to). It was also found that eye movements "to nothing" appeared both when the participants were visualising scenes while looking at a blank screen and when they were doing so in complete darkness. <br/><br>
<br/><br>
The second study explored an effect frequently observed in the first study, involving a "scaling-down" during recall of participants' gaze patterns to an area smaller than that occupied by the stimulus encoded. It was found that this scaling effect correlated with spatial-imagery ability: the gaze patterns of participants with weaker spatial-imagery ability were closer in size to the encoded scene than the gaze patterns of those stronger in spatial-imagery ability.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
In the third study, the role of eye movements during mental imagery was investigated in four experiments where eye movements were prohibited during either the encoding phase or the recall phase. Experiments 1 and 2 showed that maintaining central fixation during visual or auditory encoding, respectively, had no effect on how eye movements were executed during recall. Thus, oculomotor events during recall are not reproductions of those produced during encoding. In Experiments 3 and 4, central fixation was instead maintained during recall. This turned out to alter and impair scene recollection, irrespective of the modality of encoding. <br/><br>
<br/><br>
Finally, in the fourth study, the functional role of eye movements in relation to memory retrieval was further investigated by means of direct eye-movement manipulation in the retrieval phase of an episodic-memory task. Four conditions were used: (1) free viewing on a blank screen, (2) maintaining central fixation, (3) viewing within a square congruent with the location of the objects to be recalled, and (4) viewing within a square incongruent with the location of the objects to be recalled. The results obtained show that gaze position plays an active and facilitatory role during memory retrieval. <br/><br>
<br/><br>
The findings from these studies are discussed in the light of current theories regarding eye movements during mental imagery and memory retrieval.},
  author       = {Johansson, Roger},
  isbn         = {978-91-7473-655-7},
  issn         = {1101-8453},
  keyword      = {Mental Imagery,Eye Movements,Eye-tracking,Encoding,Recall,Memory Retrieval,Episodic Memory},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {181},
  school       = {Lund University},
  series       = {Lund University Cognitive Studies},
  title        = {Tracking the Mind's Eye : Eye movements during mental imagery and memory retrieval},
  volume       = {155},
  year         = {2013},
}