Authors
Sven Ohl; Martin Rolfs

Bold moves: Inevitable saccadic selection in visual short-term memory

publication date
February 2020
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Abstract/Introduction

Selection for visual short-term memory (vstm) provides a basis for many cognitive functions. Saccadic eye movements sway this selection in favor of stimuli previously seen at locations congruent with their target. In three experiments, we provide converging evidence that this saccadic selection is implemented as a fundamental, inevitable selection process, rather than a top-down strategy. In particular, benefits for congruent over incongruent items were largely constant across set sizes ranging from two to eight items (Experiment 1), showing that saccadic selection imposes priorities on vstm irrespective of memory load and is effective even when only few representations need to be maintained. Moreover, a decrement in performance for incongruent items occurred reliably, whether the congruent location contained a task-relevant item or an irrelevant noise patch (Experiment 2). Finally, saccadic selection was immune to a strong manipulation of the observer's attentional priorities (Experiment 3). Given the prevalence of saccades in natural vision, our results demonstrate a fundamental and ecologically relevant selection mechanism for vstm: Saccades systematically eliminate information seen at non-target locations, while information at the saccade target remains available to recall. This simple heuristic is effective in the absence of informative cues and may incapacitate voluntary selection mechanisms that are incongruent with ongoing movement plans.


Conclusion/Results

In the present study, we observed that saccadic selection occurred in vstm, largely independently of memory load, irrespective of the task relevance of the stimulus seen at the saccade target, and irrespective of how likely it is that memory is probed at the saccade goal. Saccades therefore selectively protect memory at locations congruent with their target, and eliminate information at nontarget locations without compromise. Using this powerful and ecologically relevant selection mechanism, the visual system is equipped to make rapid choices in the absence of informative cues, deciding what to remember and what to forget.


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Testimonials


My eight year old daughter was terrified to go to the eye doctor for fear of her eyes being dilated. The doctor was SO KID friendly! He immediately made her comfortable by engaging her in conversation. It was a geat experience.


Joya B.

Dr. Garbus spent an amazing amount of time to solve my very complicated visual problems. Over the years he has continually achieved results beyond what others felt possible. He is always up to date on the latest science. He is great!


Dolores K.

Family Vision Care Valencia makes it so easy. Staff is knows what they are doing and Dr. Garbus is thorough and kept me well informed during the exam.


Kristy B.

I have been coming to Family Vision Center for almost 20 years. Dr. Garbus has been able to help my vision when other doctors could not. Now my kids see him as well. I highly recommend this office!


Autumn C.

The Doctor is very good. I felt on this visit he seemed rushed. I had questions to ask him but he was already with another patient. I still do not know if my eyes are the same , worse, or better.


Howard B.

All the staff is friendly, helpful and knowledgeable, and has been for all the years I have been going there.


Mary Ann H.
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