, Volume 65, Issue 5, pp 725-734

Eye movements and picture processing during recognition


Eye movements were monitored during a recognition memory test of previously studied pictures of full-color scenes. The test scenes were identical to the originals, had an object deleted from them, or included a new object substituted for an original object. In contrast to a prior report (Parker, 1978), we found no evidence that object deletions or substitutions could be recognized on the basis of information acquired from the visual periphery. Deletions were difficult to recognize peripherally, and the eyes were not attracted to them. Overall, the amplitude of the average saccade to the critical object during the memory test was less than 4.5° of visual angle in all conditions and averaged 4.1° across conditions. We conclude that information about object presence and identity in a scene is limited to a relatively small region around the current fixation point.

This research was supported by the National Science Foundation (BCS-0094433 and KDI award ECS-9873531) and the Army Research Office (DAAD19-00-1-0519; the opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of the Army or any other governmental organization; reference to or citations of trade or corporate names does not constitute explicit or implied endorsement of those entities or their products by the authors or the Department of the Army). M.S.C. was supported by an IGERT graduate traineeship from the National Science Foundation (DGE-0114378).