Attention deployment during memorizing and executing complex instructions
We investigated the mental rehearsal of complex action instructions by recording spontaneous eye movements of healthy adults as they looked at objects on a monitor. Participants heard consecutive instructions, each of the form “move [object] to [location]”. Instructions were only to be executed after a go signal, by manipulating all objects successively with a mouse. Participants re-inspected previously mentioned objects already while listening to further instructions. This rehearsal behavior broke down after 4 instructions, coincident with participants’ instruction span, as determined from subsequent execution accuracy. These results suggest that spontaneous eye movements while listening to instructions predict their successful execution.
KeywordsAssembly task Eye movements Overt attention Rehearsal Sequential instruction Working memory
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