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Franziska Traub, Roger Johansson, Kenneth Holmqvist; Gaze patterns reveal how texts are remembered: A mental model of what was described is favoured over the text itself. Journal of Vision 2017;17(10):538. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/17.10.538.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Several studies have reported that spontaneous eye movements occur when visuospatial information is recalled from memory. Such gazes closely reflect the content and spatial relations from the original scene layout (e.g., Johansson et al., 2012). However, when someone has originally read a scene description, the memory of the physical layout of the text itself might compete with the memory of the spatial arrangement of the described scene. The present study was designed to address this fundamental issue by having participants read scene descriptions that were manipulated to be either congruent or incongruent with the spatial layout of the text itself. 28 participants read and recalled three texts: (1) a scene description congruent with the spatial layout of the text; (2) a scene description incongruent with the spatial layout of the text; and (3) a control text without any spatial scene content. Recollection was performed orally while gazing at a blank screen. Results demonstrate that participants' gaze patterns during recall more closely reflect the spatial layout of the scene than the physical locations of the text. We conclude that participants formed a mental model that represented what was described, i.e., the spatial arrangement of the scene, which then guided the retrieval process. During their retellings, participants moved the eyes across the blank screen as if they saw the scene in front of them. Whereas previous studies on the involvement of eye movements in mental imagery tasks have used either spoken language or pictorial recollection task, our study is the first demonstration of the elicitation of mental imagery from text.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2017
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