Memory for scenes: Refixations reflect retrieval

  • Holm L
  • Mantyla T
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Most conceptions of episodic memory hold that reinstatement of encoding operations is essential for retrieval success, but the specific mechanisms of retrieval reinstatement are not well understood. In three experiments, we used saccadic eye movements as a window for examining reinstatement in scene recognition. In Experiment 1, participants viewed complex scenes, while number of study fixations was controlled by using a gaze-contingent paradigm. In Experiment 2, effects of stimulus saliency were minimized by directing participants' eye movements during study. At test, participants made remember/know judgments for each recognized stimulus scene. Both experiments showed that remember responses were associated with more consistent study-test fixations than false rejections (Experiments 1 and 2) and know responses (Experiment 2). In Experiment 3, we examined the causal role of gaze consistency on retrieval by manipulating participants' expectations during recognition. After studying name and scene pairs, each test scene was preceded by the same or different name as during study. Participants made more consistent eye movements following a matching, rather than mismatching, scene name. Taken together, these findings suggest that explicit recollection is a function of perceptual reconstruction and that event memory influences gaze control in this active reconstruction process.

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