The representations that are formed as we view real environments are still not well characterized. We studied the influence of task instructions on memory performance and fixation allocation in a real-world setting, in which participants were free to move around. Object memories were found to be task sensitive, as was the allocation of foveal vision. However, changes in the number of fixations directed at objects could not fully explain the changes in object memory performance that were found between task instruction conditions. Our data suggest that the manner in which information is extracted and retained from fixations varies with the instructions given to participants, with strategic prioritization of information retention from fixations made to task-relevant objects and strategic deprioritization of information retention from fixations directed to task-irrelevant objects.
- object memory
- real world