Eye-closure & the retrieval of item-specific information in recognition memory

Conscious Cogn. 2020 Jan;77:102858. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2019.102858. Epub 2019 Dec 11.


Two experiments investigated the effect of eye-closure on visual and auditory memory under conditions based on the retrieval of item-specific information. Experiment 1 investigated visual recognition memory for studied, perceptually similar and unrelated items. It was found that intermittent eye-closure increased memory for studied items and decreased memory for related items. This finding was reflected by enhanced item-specific and reduced gist memory. Experiment 2 used the Deese-Roediger-McDermott (DRM) paradigm to assess auditory recognition memory for studied, related and unrelated words that had (vs. had not) been accompanied by pictures during encoding. Pictures but not eye-closure produced a picture superiority effect by enhancing memory for studied items. False memory was reduced by pictures but not eye-closure. Methodological and theoretical considerations are discussed in relation to existing explanations of eye-closure and retrieval strategies.

Keywords: Eye-closure; False memory; Gist memory; Item-specific memory; Perceptual memory.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Association*
  • Eye Movements / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Mental Recall / physiology*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Recognition, Psychology / physiology*
  • Speech Perception / physiology*
  • Young Adult