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Eye movement suppression interferes with construction of object-centered spatial reference frames in working memory

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  • Center for Semiotik
  • Center for Funktionelt Integrativ Neurovidenskab
  • Afdeling for Lingvistik
The brain's frontal eye fields (FEF), responsible for eye movement control, are known to be involved in spatial working memory (WM). In a previous fMRI experiment (Wallentin, Roepstorff & Burgess, Neuropsychologia, 2008) it was found that FEF activation was primarily related to the formation of an object-centered, rather than egocentric, spatial reference frame. In this behavioral
experiment we wanted to demonstrate a causal relationship between eye movement control and manipulation of spatial reference frames. Sixty two participants recalled either spatial ("Was X in front of Y?") or non-spatial ("Was X darker than Y?") relations in a previously shown image containing two to four objects, each with an intrinsic orientation and unique luminance. During half of all recall trials a moving visual stimulus was presented, which participants had to ignore, thus suppressing eye movement. Response times were significantly slower for spatial relations with distraction while there was no effect on non-spatial relations. There was no effect on accuracy, i.e. WM maintenance. This is
consistent with the hypothesis that in spatial representations the FEFs are involved in WM content manipulation, such as establishing an object-centered spatial frame of reference.
TidsskriftBrain and Cognition
Sider (fra-til)432-437
StatusUdgivet - 2011

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