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Kyoung Whan Choe, Omid Kardan, Hiroki P. Kotabe, John M. Henderson, Marc G. Berman; To search or to like: Mapping fixations to differentiate two forms of incidental scene memory. Journal of Vision 2017;17(12):8. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/17.12.8.
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We employed eye-tracking to investigate how performing different tasks on scenes (e.g., intentionally memorizing them, searching for an object, evaluating aesthetic preference) can affect eye movements during encoding and subsequent scene memory. We found that scene memorability decreased after visual search (one incidental encoding task) compared to intentional memorization, and that preference evaluation (another incidental encoding task) produced better memory, similar to the incidental memory boost previously observed for words and faces. By analyzing fixation maps, we found that although fixation map similarity could explain how eye movements during visual search impairs incidental scene memory, it could not explain the incidental memory boost from aesthetic preference evaluation, implying that implicit mechanisms were at play. We conclude that not all incidental encoding tasks should be taken to be similar, as different mechanisms (e.g., explicit or implicit) lead to memory enhancements or decrements for different incidental encoding tasks.
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