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Matthew Peterson, Shane Kelley, Eric Blumberg; Saccades Smear Spatial Working Memory. Journal of Vision 2017;17(10):108. doi: 10.1167/17.10.108.
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We took advantage of saccadic remapping to test whether eye movements and spatial working memory (SWM) share a common spatial representing system. If SWM, perception, and saccades share the same spatial representation system, then multiple saccades along the same axis should lead to representationql errors along that axis due to the increased potential for errors from multiple remappings. Subjects performed a spatial change detection task (6 sessions). During the retention interval, subjects detected whether an X (go) or O (no-go) appeared. Depending on the session, the X or O was either located centrally (no-shift), peripherally and identified using covert attention (covert), or peripherally and identified using a saccade. For the change detection task, when a change occurred, an item moved either in the vertical or horizontal direction (0.56°-3.4°). For Experiment 1, saccades and covert shifts occurred along the horizontal axis, and in Experiment 2 shifts were made along the vertical axis. For both experiments, memory accuracy was highest for the no-shift condition, lower for the covert condition, and lowest for the saccade condition (Lawrence et al., 2004). Gaussian PDFs were fit to the memory data, with standard deviation (precision), guessing, and bias as parameters. None of the tasks had a significant effect on bias or guessing. However, in both experiments, a covert attention shift led to a loss of memory precision compared to the no-shift condition, and this loss was equal in both the vertical and horizontal planes. Importantly, in both experiments saccades had an additional effect beyond covert attention: there was an additional loss of precision for changes that occurred in the same plane as the saccade as opposed to changes that occurred in the orthogonal plane. This supports our hypothesis that saccade driven remapping impacts the precision of SWM – saccades smeared SWM.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2017
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