Eye-movement-based memory effect: a reprocessing effect in face perception

J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 1999 Jul;25(4):997-1010. doi: 10.1037//0278-7393.25.4.997.


An eye-movement-based memory effect was demonstrated in 2 experiments showing different patterns of eye movements elicited to famous versus nonfamous faces, across a range of different processing tasks. The effects of prior exposure emerged early in viewing, within the first 5 fixations, and were observed on multiple measures of eye-movement behavior, reflecting a change in viewers' sampling behavior to the famous faces. Accordingly, the eye-movement-based memory effect can be seen as a change in the nature of processing of novel versus repeated items, with implications for other effects of prior exposure such as those seen in examples of repetition priming. The authors argue that the eye-movement-based memory effect is an obligatory consequence of previous exposure--a reprocessing effect caused by re-engaging the visual pattern analyzers and face processing machinery of the brain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiology
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Eye Movements / physiology*
  • Facial Expression*
  • Fixation, Ocular / physiology
  • Humans
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Random Allocation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Visual Perception / physiology*