Effects of Saccade Induced Retrieval Enhancement on conceptual and perceptual tests of explicit & implicit memory

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The effects of saccadic horizontal (bilateral) eye movements upon tests of both conceptual and perceptual forms of explicit and implicit memory were investigated. Participants studied a list of words and were then assigned to one of four test conditions: conceptual explicit, conceptual implicit, perceptual explicit, or perceptual implicit. Conceptual tests comprised category labels with either explicit instructions to recall corresponding examples from the study phase (category-cued recall), or implicit instructions to generate any corresponding examples that spontaneously came to mind (category-exemplar generation). Perceptual tests comprised of word-fragments with either explicit instructions to complete these with study items (word-fragment-cued recall), or implicit instructions to complete each fragment with the first word that simply ‘popped to mind’ (word-fragment completion). Just prior to retrieval, participants were required to engage in 30 s of bilateral vs. no eye movements. Results revealed that saccadic horizontal eye movements enhanced performance in only the conceptual explicit condition, indicating that Saccade-Induced Retrieval Enhancement is a joint function of conceptual and explicit retrieval mechanisms. Findings are discussed from both a cognitive and neuropsychological perspective, in terms of their potential functional and neural underpinnings.

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