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Anne-Sophie Laurin, Maxime Bleau, Jessica Gedjakouchian, Romain Fournet, Laure Pisella, Aarlenne Zein Khan; Post-saccadic changes disrupt attended pre-saccadic object memory. Journal of Vision 2021;21(8):8. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.21.8.8.
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Trans-saccadic memory consists of keeping track of objects’ locations and features across saccades; pre-saccadic information is remembered and compared with post-saccadic information. It has been shown to have limited resources and involve attention with respect to the selection of objects and features. In support, a previous study showed that recognition of distinct post-saccadic objects in the visual scene is impaired when pre-saccadic objects are relevant and thus already encoded in memory (Poth, Herwig, Schneider, 2015). Here, we investigated the inverse (i.e. how the memory of pre-saccadic objects is affected by abrupt but irrelevant changes in the post-saccadic visual scene). We also modulated the amount of attention to the relevant pre-saccadic object by having participants either make a saccade to it or elsewhere and observed that pre-saccadic attentional facilitation affected how much post-saccadic changes disrupted trans-saccadic memory of pre-saccadic objects.
Participants identified a flashed symbol (d, b, p, or q, among distracters), at one of six placeholders (figures “8”) arranged in circle around fixation while planning a saccade to one of them. They reported the identity of the symbol after the saccade. We changed the post-saccadic scene in Experiment one by removing the entire scene, only the placeholder where the pre-saccadic symbol was presented, or all other placeholders except this one. We observed reduced identification performance when only the saccade-target placeholder disappeared after the saccade. In Experiment two, we changed one placeholder location (inward/outward shift or rotation re. saccade vector) after the saccade and observed that identification performance decreased with increased shift/rotation of the saccade-target placeholder. We conclude that pre-saccadic memory is disrupted by abrupt attention-capturing post-saccadic changes of visual scene, particularly when these changes involve the object prioritized by being the goal of a saccade. These findings support the notion that limited trans-saccadic memory resources are disrupted when object correspondence at saccadic goal is broken through removal or location change.
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