Recent research has suggested an important role of eye movements for spatial scene construction during autobiographical recall. In the current study we asked 18 students from the University of Trieste to retrieve recent or distant autobiographical events in response to 6 cue words. Participants sat in front of a blank screen and eye movements were recorded while they described the place and event associated with each memory. Memories were classified using the Autobiographical Interview procedure in recall periods corresponding to the event, place, and thought/emotion descriptions. Comparison of fixations and saccades across these recall periods showed statistically significant differences in the following parameters. The duration of fixations during place descriptions was longer than that of event descriptions and thought/emotion descriptions. The number of fixations per second and saccadic amplitudes were lower during place descriptions in respect to the event descriptions and thought/emotion descriptions. Finally, the number of consecutive saccades in the same direction was higher during place descriptions in respect to the event descriptions and thought/emotion descriptions. This pattern of results is compatible with an exploratory behaviour produced during the recall of places characterized by sequences of short saccades in the same direction and longer fixation periods. Instead, remembering details about thoughts, emotions and events is characterized by larger and random saccades, and short fixations. These results support the hypothesis that autobiographical memory triggers specific eye movements associated with the reconstruction of visuo-spatial layout of scenes.

Differential Eye Movements During the Autobiographical Recall of Places, Events, and Thoughts/Emotions

Bernardis, P
;
Grassi, M;Pearson, D
2021-01-01

Abstract

Recent research has suggested an important role of eye movements for spatial scene construction during autobiographical recall. In the current study we asked 18 students from the University of Trieste to retrieve recent or distant autobiographical events in response to 6 cue words. Participants sat in front of a blank screen and eye movements were recorded while they described the place and event associated with each memory. Memories were classified using the Autobiographical Interview procedure in recall periods corresponding to the event, place, and thought/emotion descriptions. Comparison of fixations and saccades across these recall periods showed statistically significant differences in the following parameters. The duration of fixations during place descriptions was longer than that of event descriptions and thought/emotion descriptions. The number of fixations per second and saccadic amplitudes were lower during place descriptions in respect to the event descriptions and thought/emotion descriptions. Finally, the number of consecutive saccades in the same direction was higher during place descriptions in respect to the event descriptions and thought/emotion descriptions. This pattern of results is compatible with an exploratory behaviour produced during the recall of places characterized by sequences of short saccades in the same direction and longer fixation periods. Instead, remembering details about thoughts, emotions and events is characterized by larger and random saccades, and short fixations. These results support the hypothesis that autobiographical memory triggers specific eye movements associated with the reconstruction of visuo-spatial layout of scenes.
2021
https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/03010066211059887
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/3007892
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