Effects of saccadic bilateral eye movements on memory in children and adults: an exploratory study

Brain Cogn. 2012 Apr;78(3):238-47. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2012.01.007. Epub 2012 Feb 4.


The effects of saccadic bilateral (horizontal) eye movements on true and false memory in adults and children were investigated. Both adults and children encoded lists of associated words in the Deese-Roediger-McDermott paradigm followed by a test of recognition memory. Just prior to retrieval, participants were asked to engage in 30s of bilateral vs. vertical vs. no eye movements. For studied information, the results for adults replicated previous work; bilateral eye movements were demonstrated to increase the accuracy of memory by increasing the hit rate and reducing the false alarm rate for related and unrelated recognition test lures. The results for children also indicated an improvement in memory accuracy, and like adults, was due to both an increase in the hit rate and a reduction in the false alarm rate. In spite of these similarities, the effects of bilateral eye movements differed between adults and children for critical unstudied words; i.e., those associated with the theme of the list. Only in adults did, bilateral eye movements reduce associative false memories; children did not show a reduction in false memory for critical associates. This produced a dissociation between the effects of eye movements on associative false memory as a function of age. The results are discussed from a developmental perspective in terms of potential mechanisms underlying true and false memory.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Repression, Psychology*
  • Saccades / physiology*
  • Young Adult