Eye movements predict recollective experience

Tali Sharot, Matthew L. Davidson, Meredith M. Carson, Elizabeth A. Phelps

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previously encountered stimuli can bring to mind a vivid memory of the episodic context in which the stimulus was first experienced ("remembered" stimuli), or can simply seem familiar ("known" stimuli). Past studies suggest that more attentional resources are required to encode stimuli that are subsequently remembered than known. However, it is unclear if the attentional resources are distributed differently during encoding and recognition of remembered and known stimuli. Here, we record eye movements while participants encode photos, and later while indicating whether the photos are remembered, known or new. Eye fixations were more clustered during both encoding and recognition of remembered photos relative to known photos. Thus, recognition of photos that bring to mind a vivid memory for the episodic context in which they were experienced is associated with less distributed overt attention during encoding and recognition. The results suggest that remembering is related to encoding of a few distinct details of a photo rather than the photo as a whole. In turn, during recognition remembering may be trigged by enhanced memory for the salient details of the photos.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2884
JournalPloS one
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 6 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Eye movements predict recollective experience'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this