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The influence of expectation on deciding where to look next

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Our brains are continually making decisions. One of the commonest – done several times every second of our waking lives – is deciding which part of the world to look at next. If an object has appeared previously in a certain location, our brain expects that it may appear there again and so can decide more quickly to look at it should it reappear. What has not been clear, however, is how the brain translates information about when and where objects have previously appeared into “expectation”. Through laboratory studies that closely examine how eye movement timing (saccadic latency) changes with the appearance probability and location of visual targets, the processes underlying expectation development are beginning to be understood.

This talk is part of the Craik Club series.

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