Anglia Ruskin University
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Visual working memory and saccadic eye movements

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posted on 2023-08-30, 14:01 authored by Keisha J. Notice
Saccadic eye movements, produced by the oculomotor system, are used to bring salient information in line with the high resolution fovea. It has been suggested that visual working memory, the cognitive system that temporarily stores and manipulates visual information (Baddeley & Hitch, 1974), is utilised by the oculomotor system in order to maintain saccade programmes across temporal delays (Belopolsky & Theeuwes, 2011). Saccadic eye movements have been found to deviate away from information stored in visual working memory (Theeuwes and colleagues, 2005, 2006). Saccadic deviation away from presented visual stimuli has been associated with top-down suppression (McSorley, Haggard, & Walker, 2006). This thesis examines the extent to which saccade trajectories are influenced by information held in visual working memory. Through a series of experiments behavioural memory data and saccade trajectory data were explored and evidence for visual working memory-oculomotor interaction was found. Other findings included specific interactions with the oculomotor system for the dorsal and ventral pathways as well as evidence for both bottom-up and top-down processing. Evidence of further oculomotor interaction with manual cognitive mechanisms was also illustrated, suggesting that visual working memory does not uniquely interact with the oculomotor system to preserve saccade programmes. The clinical and theoretical implications of this thesis are explored. It is proposed that the oculomotor system may interact with a variety of sensory systems to inform accurate and efficient visual processing.



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