The eyes make rapid, saccadic movements from point to point in space several times each second. It is generally assumed that some mental representation of the visual environment is maintained across eye movements in a trans-saccadic memory. We examined the role of attention in the encoding of information into trans-saccadic memory using a partial report procedure. A letter array was presented in one fixation, then a bar marker probed report of one array position after a saccade was made to a new location. Accuracy was high for positions that subjects had been told to attend to, but it was also high for positions near the saccade target, even if subjects had been instructed to attend elsewhere. These results indicate that attention determines what information is encoded into trans-saccadic memory and hence remembered across eye movements. Because attention automatically precedes the eyes to the saccade target location, information near the saccade target is likely to be encoded. The results are discussed in terms of VAM, the neurocognitive model of visual attention proposed by Schneider (1995).
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