Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 663–668

Moving eyes and moving thought: On the spatial compatibility between eye movements and cognition

Brief Reports

Abstract

Grant and Spivey (2003) proposed that eye movement trajectories can influence spatial reasoning by way of an implicit eye-movement-to-cognition link. We tested this proposal and investigated the nature of this link by continuously monitoring eye movements and asking participants to perform a problem-solving task under free-viewing conditions while occasionally guiding their eye movements (via an unrelated tracking task), either in a pattern related to the problem’s solution or in unrelated patterns. Although participants reported that they were not aware of any relationship between the tracking task and the problem, those who moved their eyes in a pattern related to the problem’s solution were the most successful problem solvers. Our results support the existence of an implicit compatibility between spatial cognition and the eye movement patterns that people use to examine a scene.

References

  1. Barsalou, L. W. (1999). Perceptual symbol systems. Behavioral &Brain Sciences,22, 577–600.Google Scholar
  2. Cleves, M. A., Gould, W. W., &Gutierrez, R. G. (2002).An introduction to survival analysis using Stata. College Station, TX: Stata Press.Google Scholar
  3. Duncker, K. (1945). On problem solving.Psychological Monographs,58(5, Whole No. 270).Google Scholar
  4. Grant, E. R., &Spivey, M. J. (2003). Eye movements and problem solving: Guiding attention guides thought.Psychological Science,14, 462–466.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Iverson, J. M., &Goldin-Meadow, S. (1998). Why people gesture when they speak.Nature,396, 228.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Just, M. A., &Carpenter, P. A. (1985). Cognitive coordinate systems: Accounts of mental rotation and individual differences in spatial ability.Psychological Review,92, 137–172.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Knoblich, G., Ohlsson, S., &Raney, G. E. (2001). An eye movement study of insight problem solving.Memory & Cognition,29, 1000–1009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Krauss, R. M. (1998). Why do we gesture when we speak?Current Directions in Psychological Science,7, 54–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Lenhart, R. E. (1983). Conjugate lateral eye movements and problem solving ability; or, where to look for the right answer.Psychophysiology,20, 456.Google Scholar
  10. Metcalfe, J., &Wiebe, D. (1987). Intuition in insight and noninsight problem solving.Memory & Cognition,15, 238–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Weisberg, R. W., &Alba, J. W. (1981). An examination of the alleged role of “fixation” in the solution of several “insight” problems.Journal of Experimental Psychology: General,110, 169–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Wilson, M. (2002). Six views of embodied cognition.Psychonomic Bulletin & Review,9, 625–636.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaign

Personalised recommendations