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Eye Movements Actively Reinstate Spatiotemporal Mnemonic Content

Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest, 3560 Bathurst St., Toronto, ON M6A 2E1, Canada
Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, 100 St George St., Toronto, ON M5S 3G3, Canada
Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, 250 College St., Toronto, ON M5T 1R8, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Vision 2019, 3(2), 21; (registering DOI)
Received: 28 February 2019 / Revised: 9 May 2019 / Accepted: 10 May 2019 / Published: 18 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eye Movements and Visual Cognition)
PDF [1484 KB, uploaded 18 May 2019]


Eye movements support memory encoding by binding distinct elements of the visual world into coherent representations. However, the role of eye movements in memory retrieval is less clear. We propose that eye movements play a functional role in retrieval by reinstating the encoding context. By overtly shifting attention in a manner that broadly recapitulates the spatial locations and temporal order of encoded content, eye movements facilitate access to, and reactivation of, associated details. Such mnemonic gaze reinstatement may be obligatorily recruited when task demands exceed cognitive resources, as is often observed in older adults. We review research linking gaze reinstatement to retrieval, describe the neural integration between the oculomotor and memory systems, and discuss implications for models of oculomotor control, memory, and aging. View Full-Text
Keywords: eye tracking; eye movements; gaze; memory; retrieval; vision; aging eye tracking; eye movements; gaze; memory; retrieval; vision; aging

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Wynn, J.S.; Shen, K.; Ryan, J.D. Eye Movements Actively Reinstate Spatiotemporal Mnemonic Content. Vision 2019, 3, 21.

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