Previous studies have demonstrated that working memory for spatial location can be significantly disrupted by concurrent eye or limb movement (Baddeley, 1986; Smyth, Pearson, & Pendleton, 1988). Shifts in attention alone can also interfere with spatial span (Smyth & Scholey, 1994), even with no corresponding movement of the eyes or limbs (Smyth, 1996). What is not clear from these studies is how comparable is the magnitude of effect caused by different forms of spatial disrupter. Recently, it has been demonstrated that limb movements produce as much interference with spatial span as do reflexive saccades (Lawrence, Myerson, Oonk, & Abrams, 2001). In turn this has led to the hypothesis that all spatially directed movement can produce similar effects in visuo-spatial working memory. This paper reports the results of five experiments that have contrasted the effect of concurrent eye movement, limb movement, and covert attention shifts on participants' working memory for sequences of locations. All conditions involving concurrent eye movement produced significantly greater reduction in span than equivalent limb movement or covert attention shifts with eyes fixated. It is argued that these results demonstrate a crucial role for oculomotor control processes during the rehearsal of location-specific representations in working memory.
|Number of pages||22|
|Journal||Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. A, Human Experimental Psychology|
|Publication status||Published - Oct 2003|
- SACCADIC EYE-MOVEMENTS
- SELECTIVE ATTENTION
- VISUAL MARKING