Intelligent, goal-directed behavior depends on orienting the eyes efficiently to task-relevant objects in the world. In previous work, we have demonstrated that the visual working memory (VWM) system exerts top-down control over saccade target selection, guiding the eyes to goal-relevant objects. Before a saccade, features of the saccade target are encoded into VWM. These are retained across the saccade and compared with object information when the eyes land. In the common circumstance that the eyes fail to land on the original target, remembered properties of the target are used to guide attention and gaze, automatically, toward a matching object, ensuring that the eyes are directed efficiently to the original target. This specific behavior reflects a general interactive relationship between saccade target selection and VWM: Selection of the saccade target object controls encoding into VWM, and the content of VWM, in turn, biases saccade target selection in favor of objects that match the features stored in memory. In the present project, we propose to explore the locus of the interaction between VWM and saccade target selection. We will test the hypothesis that VWM activation influences low-level sensory processing of saccade targets, influencing even the most rapid and elementary forms of saccadic orienting. In addition, we propose to examine core processing components of the interaction between VWM and gaze control, including 1) the ability to adapt VWM content and attentional biases on the basis of changing task demands and 2) the mechanisms by which saccade target properties are encoded in VWM. Finally, we will develop a neural field model that integrates current models eye movement planning and models of VWM, providing a formal framework for understanding their relationship. These studies will advance our understanding of the basic mechanisms of gaze control that support efficient interaction with objects and agents in the world.

Public Health Relevance

Everyday human behavior requires efficiently directing the eyes to objects that are relevant to the task at hand. The present project aims to provide a clearer understanding of the mechanisms by which working memory systems interact with the control of saccadic eye movements to guide the eyes toward pertinent objects. Understanding the low-level mechanisms by which visual working memory modulates the selection of saccade targets has the potential to inform not only research on eye movements but also basic research on working memory, attention, and visual search.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Eye Institute (NEI)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01EY017356-09
Application #
8708866
Study Section
Cognition and Perception Study Section (CP)
Program Officer
Wiggs, Cheri
Project Start
2006-09-30
Project End
2015-08-31
Budget Start
2014-09-01
Budget End
2015-08-31
Support Year
9
Fiscal Year
2014
Total Cost
$288,069
Indirect Cost
$92,069
Name
University of Iowa
Department
Psychology
Type
Schools of Arts and Sciences
DUNS #
062761671
City
Iowa City
State
IA
Country
United States
Zip Code
52242
Schneegans, Sebastian; Spencer, John P; Schöner, Gregor et al. (2014) Dynamic interactions between visual working memory and saccade target selection. J Vis 14:
Tas, A Caglar; Moore, Cathleen M; Hollingworth, Andrew (2014) The representation of the saccade target object depends on visual stability. Vis cogn 22:1042-1046
Luck, Steven J; McClenon, Clara; Beck, Valerie M et al. (2014) Hyperfocusing in schizophrenia: Evidence from interactions between working memory and eye movements. J Abnorm Psychol 123:783-95
Hollingworth, Andrew; Matsukura, Michi; Luck, Steven J (2013) Visual working memory modulates rapid eye movements to simple onset targets. Psychol Sci 24:790-6
Hollingworth, Andrew; Matsukura, Michi; Luck, Steven J (2013) Visual working memory modulates low-level saccade target selection: evidence from rapidly generated saccades in the global effect paradigm. J Vis 13:4
Hollingworth, Andrew; Hwang, Seongmin (2013) The relationship between visual working memory and attention: retention of precise colour information in the absence of effects on perceptual selection. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 368:20130061
Hollingworth, Andrew; Maxcey-Richard, Ashleigh M; Vecera, Shaun P (2012) The spatial distribution of attention within and across objects. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 38:135-51
Matsukura, Michi; Hollingworth, Andrew (2011) Does visual short-term memory have a high-capacity stage? Psychon Bull Rev 18:1098-104
Mills, Mark; Hollingworth, Andrew; Van der Stigchel, Stefan et al. (2011) Examining the influence of task set on eye movements and fixations. J Vis 11:17
Hollingworth, Andrew; Rasmussen, Ian P (2010) Binding objects to locations: the relationship between object files and visual working memory. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 36:543-64

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