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María Pilar Aivar, Mary M. Hayhoe, Christopher L. Chizk, Ryan E. B. Mruczek; Spatial memory and saccadic targeting in a natural task. Journal of Vision 2005;5(3):3. doi: 10.1167/5.3.3.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Previous work on transsaccadic memory and change blindness suggests that only a small part of the information in the visual scene is retained following a change in eye position. However, some visual representation across different fixation positions seems necessary to guide body movements. To understand what information is retained across gaze positions, it seems necessary to consider the functional demands of vision in ordinary behavior. We therefore examined eye and hand movements in a naturalistic task, where subjects copied a toy model in a virtual environment. Saccadic targeting performance was examined to see if subjects took advantage of regularities in the environment. During the first trials the spatial arrangement of the pieces used to copy the model was kept stable. In subsequent trials this arrangement was changed randomly every time the subject looked away. Results showed that about 20% of saccades went either directly to the location of the next component to be copied or to its old location before the change. There was also a significant increase in the total number of fixations required to locate a piece after a change, which could be accounted for by the corrective movements required after fixating the (incorrect) old location. These results support the idea that a detailed representation of the spatial structure of the environment is typically retained across fixations and used to guide eye movements.
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