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Learn Mem. 2017 Jan 17;24(2):95-103. doi: 10.1101/lm.043851.116. Print 2017 Feb.

When eye movements express memory for old and new scenes in the absence of awareness and independent of hippocampus.

Smith CN1,2, Squire LR1,2,3,4.

Author information

1
Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, California 92161, USA.
2
Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA.
3
Department of Neurosciences, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA.
4
Department of Psychology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA.

Abstract

Eye movements can reflect memory. For example, participants make fewer fixations and sample fewer regions when viewing old versus new scenes (the repetition effect). It is unclear whether the repetition effect requires that participants have knowledge (awareness) of the old-new status of the scenes or if it can occur independent of knowledge about old-new status. It is also unclear whether the repetition effect is hippocampus-dependent or hippocampus-independent. A complication is that testing conscious memory for the scenes might interfere with the expression of unconscious (unaware), experience-dependent eye movements. In experiment 1, 75 volunteers freely viewed old and new scenes without knowledge that memory for the scenes would later be tested. Participants then made memory judgments and confidence judgments for each scene during a surprise recognition memory test. Participants exhibited the repetition effect regardless of the accuracy or confidence associated with their memory judgments (i.e., the repetition effect was independent of their awareness of the old-new status of each scene). In experiment 2, five memory-impaired patients with medial temporal lobe damage and six controls also viewed old and new scenes without expectation of memory testing. Both groups exhibited the repetition effect, even though the patients were impaired at recognizing which scenes were old and which were new. Thus, when participants viewed scenes without expectation of memory testing, eye movements associated with old and new scenes reflected unconscious, hippocampus-independent memory. These findings are consistent with the formulation that, when memory is expressed independent of awareness, memory is hippocampus-independent.

PMID:
28096499
PMCID:
PMC5238721
DOI:
10.1101/lm.043851.116
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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