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Sara Spotorno, Ioana Dragusin, Clare Kirtley, Benjamin W Tatler; Cognitive and Perceptual Influences on Eye Movements and Object Memory in Real Environments. Journal of Vision 2019;19(10):147c. https://doi.org/10.1167/19.10.147c.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Our everyday experience is shaped by the interplay between our cognitive processes and the perceptual characteristics of our surroundings. However, cognitive and perceptual influences have been examined mostly in laboratory settings, while little is known about how they act in real environments. We studied these influences on eye-movement behaviour and on memory representation of color and position of objects placed in different types of real rooms. In Experiment 1 we used a memorisation task. We manipulated object-context semantic association (consistent, inconsistent) and objects’ perceptual salience (low, high). Recognition memory was tested with a four-AFC paradigm. Perceptual salience had no effect. Inconsistent objects were not selected earlier than consistent ones, but they were fixated for longer. Memory for color and position was better for inconsistent than consistent objects, but this arose from the longer inspection. In Experiment 2 we aimed to disentangle the role of semantic association and task relevance of memory encoding. We used a visual-search task and an object counting task (this latter to encourage fixation of all objects), followed by a surprise four-AFC memory test. All tested objects were of low perceptual salience, and could be consistent or inconsistent and searched or non-searched. Semantics had no effect. Memory for color was enhanced by longer object inspection and was better for searched than non-searched objects. This memory benefit of object search was enhanced for the latest selected objects. Our results suggest that, in the real world, cognitive guidance overrides perceptual guidance and that, within sources of cognitive guidance, task relevance overrides semantics. Moreover, they suggest that any benefit for recognition memory related to cognitive guidance either is a by-product of (case of semantic association) or is modulated by (case of task relevance) how this guidance acts on viewing behaviour during encoding.
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