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Andrew Hollingworth, Steven J. Luck; The role of visual working memory in establishing object correspondence across saccades. Journal of Vision 2009;9(8):414. doi: 10.1167/9.8.414.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Intelligent behavior requires directing the eyes efficiently to goal-relevant objects. However, with each eye movement, vision is interrupted, and the retinal locations of objects change. How does the visual system establish correspondence between objects visible before and after a saccade, so that perceptual continuity is maintained? Object correspondence across saccades is particularly challenging, because saccades are often inaccurate, with the eyes failing to land on the intended target object. In previous work, we demonstrated that visual working memory (VWM) is used to store saccade target properties across the eye movement, so that after an errant saccade, object correspondence can be established, and a rapid corrective saccade to the target generated. Here we show that objects near the landing position of an errant saccade compete for selection as the goal of the corrective saccade and that this competition is modulated by the content of VWM. Participants viewed an array of colored disks while maintaining a secondary color memory load. During the saccade to a target disk, the array was rotated so that the eyes landed midway between the target object and an adjacent distractor object, necessitating a second saccade to foveate the target. When the color of the distractor matched a color maintained in VWM, execution of this secondary saccade was impaired, indicating that the contents of VWM biased saccade targeting mechanisms that ordinarily direct gaze toward the target object. These data demonstrate that VWM plays an important role in ensuring that the eyes are ultimately directed to the intended object.
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