Kenneth Holmqvist – “Mental Imagery and Eye Movements”

Kenneth Holmqvist is a professor at North-West University, South Africa, at the Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic and is currently a guest professor at Regensburg University, Germany. Holmqvist has worked with eye-movement research since 1995. He has conducted a long series of innovative research projects using eye-trackers, from mental imagery to decision making, reading, air traffic control, and eye movements in animals.Most people report having mental imagery when listening to speech, reading text or just remembering something, yet it has been notoriously difficult to study these mental images. A large body of recent research has shown that spontaneous eye movements frequently occur when information is recalled from memory and that such gaze patterns closely overlap with the spatial configuration of the recalled information. This effect has been demonstrated for participants who encode visual scenes while looking at an empty screen as well as for those who listen to scene descriptions. It has been suggested that eye movements to blank spaces, or the processes driving them, function as “spatial indices,” that may assist in arranging the relevant parts of a visualized scene. In support of a functional role of imagery, impaired episodic memory performance has been reported inexperiments where participants are restricted to look at a fixation crossduring recall. Taken together, research on eye movements during memory retrieval and mental imagery shows the possibility of tracking the “mind’s eye” when the visuospatial configuration of an episodic memory is re-constructed, and there is substantial evidence that this effect occurs irrespective of whether such a memory trace is based on textual, visual or verbal information. This talk closes by discussing the applications of such research, including possibilities to retrieve images through automatic algorithms that record eye movements during thought processes.This event is hosted by Victoria Hasko, associate professor of language and literacy education, program chair of the TESOL and World Language Education Program,and director of the UGA Russian Flagship Program.A reception will follow the lecture in the Edge Recital Hall Lobby, sponsored by the Hugh Hodgson School of Music.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018 at 8:00am

Hugh Hodgson School of Music, Edge Hall
250 River Road, Athens, GA 30602

Office of Research, Willson Center for Humanities and Arts
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