You are here: Home Publications Revisiting the looking at nothing phenomenon: Visual and semantic biases in memory search

Revisiting the looking at nothing phenomenon: Visual and semantic biases in memory search

De Groot, F., Huettig, F., & Olivers, C. N. L. (2016). Revisiting the looking at nothing phenomenon: Visual and semantic biases in memory search. Visual Cognition, 24, 226-245. doi:10.1080/13506285.2016.1221013.
When visual stimuli remain present during search, people spend more time fixating objects that are semantically or visually related to the target instruction than fixating unrelated objects. Are these semantic and visual biases also observable when participants search within memory? We removed the visual display prior to search while continuously measuring eye movements towards locations previously occupied by objects. The target absent trials contained objects that were either visually or semantically related to the target instruction. When the overall mean proportion of fixation time was considered, we found biases towards the location previously occupied by the target, but failed to find biases towards visually or semantically related objects. However, in two experiments, the pattern of biases towards the target over time provided a reliable predictor for biases towards the visually and semantically related objects. We therefore conclude that visual and semantic representations alone can guide eye movements in memory search, but that orienting biases are weak when the stimuli are no longer present.
About MPI

This is the MPI

The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is an institute of the German Max Planck Society. Our mission is to undertake basic research into the psychological,social and biological foundations of language. The goal is to understand how our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind, and how we can learn languages of quite different types.

The institute is situated on the campus of the Radboud University. We participate in the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, and have particularly close ties to that institute's Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging. We also participate in the Centre for Language Studies. A joint graduate school, the IMPRS in Language Sciences, links the Donders Institute, the CLS and the MPI.

 

Street address
Wundtlaan 1
6525 XD Nijmegen
The Netherlands


Mailing address
P.O. Box 310
6500 AH Nijmegen
The Netherlands

Phone:   +31-24-3521911
Fax:        +31-24-3521213
E-mail:   


Public Outreach Officer
Charlotte Horn