Eye movements and the integration of visual memory and visual perception

James R. Brockmole, David E. Irwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Because visual perception has temporal extent, temporally discontinuous input must be linked in memory. Recent research has suggested that this may be accomplished by integrating the active contents of visual short-term memory (VSTM) with subsequently perceived information. In the present experiments, we explored the relationship between VSTM consolidation and maintenance and eye movements, in order to discover how attention selects the information that is to be integrated. Specifically, we addressed whether stimuli needed to be overtly attended in order to be included in the memory representation or whether covert attention was sufficient. Results demonstrated that in static displays in which the to-be-integrated information was presented in the same spatial location, VSTM consolidation proceeded independently of the eyes, since subjects made few eye movements. In dynamic displays, however, in which the to-be-integrated information was presented in different spatial locations, eye movements were directly related to task performance. We conclude that these differences are related to different encoding strategies. In the static display case, VSTM was maintained in the same spatial location as that in which it was generated. This could apparently be accomplished with covert deployments of attention. In the dynamic case, however, VSTM was generated in a location that did not overlap with one of the to-be-integrated percepts. In order to "move" the memory trace, overt shifts of attention were required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-512
Number of pages18
JournalPerception and Psychophysics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems
  • General Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Eye movements and the integration of visual memory and visual perception'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this