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Noah J. Steinberg, Zvi N. Roth, Elisha P. Merriam; Spatiotopic and retinotopic memory in the context of natural images. Journal of Vision 2022;22(4):11. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.22.4.11.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Neural responses throughout the visual cortex encode stimulus location in a retinotopic (i.e., eye-centered) reference frame, and memory for stimulus position is most precise in retinal coordinates. Yet visual perception is spatiotopic: objects are perceived as stationary, even though eye movements cause frequent displacement of their location on the retina. Previous studies found that, after a single saccade, memory of retinotopic locations is more accurate than memory of spatiotopic locations. However, it is not known whether various aspects of natural viewing affect the retinotopic reference frame advantage. We found that the retinotopic advantage may in part depend on a retinal afterimage, which can be effectively nullified through backwards masking. Moreover, in the presence of natural scenes, spatiotopic memory is more accurate than retinotopic memory, but only when subjects are provided sufficient time to process the scene before the eye movement. Our results demonstrate that retinotopic memory is not always more accurate than spatiotopic memory and that the fidelity of memory traces in both reference frames are sensitive to the presence of contextual cues.
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