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Visuospatial working memory as a fundamental component of the eye movement system.

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Humans make frequent movements of the eyes (saccades) to explore the visual environment. In this talk, I will argue that visuospatial working memory (VSWM) is a fundamental component of the eye movement system. Memory representations in VSWM are functionally integrated at all stages of orienting: (a) selection of the target; (b) maintenance of visual features across the saccade; (c) the computation of object correspondence after the saccade, supporting the experience of perceptual continuity; and (d) the correction of gaze when the eyes fail to land on the intended object. VSWM is finely tuned to meet the challenges of active vision.

Stefan van der Stigchel is a professor in Cognitive Psychology at Utrecht University and head of the research group Attentionlab. The group’s aim is to study how attention and visual awareness shape the perception of the world around us. Stefan is a member of the Young Academy of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and author of a recent popular science book ‘How attention works’ published by MIT Press.

This talk is part of the Zangwill Club series.

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