Attending to Original Object Location Facilitates Visual Memory Retrieval David L. Sacks & Andrew Hollingworth Department of Psychology, University of Iowa Introduction Scene, 12 s In a pilot experiment conducted for the present study, participants viewed objects in real-world scenes. After viewing, memory for the visual form of an object was tested, and the test object was displayed either in its original location or in a different location within the scene. In the different location condition, participants fixated the empty original location on approximately 32% of trials. Memory performance was not improved when the original location was fixated, consistent with Spivey & Geng (2001). However, such post-hoc analyses of fixation position cannot directly test the hypothesis that attending to object location facilitates memory retrieval, as participants might only fixate the original location when having difficulty performing the task. In Exp. 2, the original location advantage could have been due to the availability of local contextual information when participants fixated the original location. Exp. 2 required participants to move their eyes at test either to the original object location or to an equivalently distant location on the other side of the scene. Exp. 3 eliminated local contextual information at test by obscuring scene information at both the original and different locations. Otherwise, the method was the same as in Exp. 2. Fixation, 1000 ms Events at Test Test, until response Orig. Location Cue Orig. Location Cue Kahneman et al. (1992) proposed an “object file” framework of visual perception. In this view, objects are primarily indexed by their location at a particular time, and not by their physical properties or identifying labels. Access to an object’s properties is thought to be dependent on attending to the indexed location. Hollingworth and Henderson (2002) argued that this type of position-based structure extends to memory for visual objects in scenes. Initial evidence for position-based structure in visual memory comes from work monitoring eye movements. Spivey and Geng (2001) found that when making a decision about a removed object, participants often fixated the empty location where the object had originally appeared. Spivey and Geng argued that participants automatically attended to the spatial index originally established for the object. However, they did not find that memory performance was facilitated by fixating the original object location. In Exp. 1, the eye movement advantage could have been due to the ability to make eye movements rather than the ability to fixate the original object location. Test Scene, 500 ms Same Mirror Reversed Location Cue, 300 ms Eye Movement: Subjects were given free viewing of the test scene before making their response, allowing them to fixate the original location of the object. Test Scene, 1200 ms 0.7 0.6 0.5 1.0 Object Alone, until response Eye Movement No Eye Movement 0.9 p < .05 0.8 No Eye Movement: Subjects were required to maintain fixation on the central object within the test scene before making their response, preventing them from fixating the original location of the object. A' Hypothesis: If object information is bound to scene spatial locations, we should find a position-based retrieval effect, in which subjects are more accurate at detecting visual changes to a moved object when allowed to fixate that object’s original location in the scene. Original Location Different Location 0.9 .813 .726 Despite the absence of local contextual information at test, memory performance was reliably more accurate when participants fixated the original location versus a different location. p < .05 Experiment 1: Results Conclusions 1.0 Original Location Different Location 0.7 0.9 0.6 These results support the hypothesis that visual representations of objects in scenes are bound in memory to the scene locations where the objects were originally viewed (Hollingworth & Henderson, 2002). p < .05 0.5 .933 .839 0.8 Fixating original object location provides a strong cue for retrieval of the visual information bound to that location. A' Goal: Determine if attending to an object’s original location facilitates memory retrieval by experimentally manipulating fixation of the object’s original location at test. 1.0 Two Conditions: 0.8 Overview of Present Study Diff. Location Cue Diff. Location Cue A' It has long been known that attention plays a critical role in the transfer of perceptual information into memory. The present study examined whether attention plays a complementary role in the retrieval of visual information from memory. Specifically, we tested the hypothesis that visual object representations are bound to scene locations in memory, and that attending to an object’s location facilitates the retrieval of object information bound to that location (Hollingworth & Henderson, 2002). Experiment 3 Experiment 2 Experiment 1 0.7 References Memory performance was reliably more accurate when eye movements were allowed at test. 0.6 In the eye movement condition, the original object location was fixated at test on 30% of trials. 0.5 .879 .802 Memory performance was reliably more accurate when participants fixated the original location versus a different location. Hollingworth, A., & Henderson, J. M. (2002). Accurate visual memory for previously attended objects in natural scenes. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 28, 113-136. Kahneman, D., Treisman, A., & Gibbs, B. J. (1992). The reviewing of object files: object-specific integration of information. Cognitive Psychology, 24, 175-219. Spivey, M. J., & Geng, J. J. (2001). Oculomotor mechanisms activated by imagery and memory: eye movements to absent objects. Psychological Research, 65, 235-241. This research was funded by NIMH R03 MH65456.