The effects of saccades on visual working memory representations

Poster Presentation 43.453: Monday, May 22, 2023, 8:30 am – 12:30 pm, Pavilion
Session: Visual Working Memory: Space, features, objects

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Golnaz Forouzandehfar1 (), Garrett Hensley1, A. Caglar Tas1; 1University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Previous research has shown that motor movements, such as pointing or saccades, influence the weighting of action-relevant object representations within visual working memory (VWM). We previously found evidence that manual motor movements results in inhibition of the action-irrelevant VWM representations while they enhance action-relevant VWM representations (Mugno et al., VSS 2022). In the present study, we investigated whether saccades can also result in similar inhibition of action-irrelevant VWM items. We instructed participants to remember two color stimuli presented in an array of eight circles. At the end of each trial, participants were asked to report one of the colors (memory-target) on a color wheel. During the retention interval, we presented a cue pointing to one of the eight locations. In the Move block, participants were asked to execute a saccade to the cued location. In the No-Move block, they were asked to ignore the cue. Critically, the movement cue could either point to the memory-target location (congruent), the non-target color location (incongruent) or an empty location (no-match). Preliminary results showed support for both inhibition and enhancement: Congruent trials resulted in significantly more target color reports than both incongruent and no-match trials, suggesting an enhancement effect. Importantly, this effect was only present when participants executed a saccade to that congruent location (Move blocks). Further, we found evidence for inhibition: incongruent trials had significantly fewer target color reports than both no-match and congruent trials. This preliminary effect was not modulated by saccade execution, suggesting it may be a general retro-cueing effect. Lastly, we found no significant effect for the standard deviation of the color reports, suggesting that saccades did not modulate the variability of the color reports.