Gaze position regulates memory accessibility during competitive memory retrieval

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


While previous research has demonstrated that gaze position can increase the accessibility of previous memories when reconstructing the past (Johansson & Johansson, 2014), the present study tested whether such gaze behavior can assist in selecting target memories in the face of competing memories. An adapted retrieval practice paradigm was used, where participants were engaged in selective retrieval while looking at locations that overlapped with the encoding location of either the target item or the competing item. Replicating previous findings, we show that encoding-retrieval compatibility in gaze positions increases the likelihood of successful remembering. We furthermore provide novel evidence that looking at locations where competing items were encoded during retrieval practice induces forgetting of the competitors during subsequent tests of memory. Corroborating evidence from changes in pupil size suggests that such gaze induced forgetting is modulated by the increased demands to successfully resolve interference from competing memories. This study represents the first demonstration that gaze position can both up- and downregulate memory accessibility during competitive memory retrieval and offers novel insights into the underlying dynamics.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)


  • memory, eye tracking, Interference, gaze, retrieval-induced forgetting
Original languageEnglish
Article number104169
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication categoryResearch

Related projects

Mikael Johansson

Stiftelsen Marcus och Amalia Wallenbergs Minnesfond

2016/07/01 → …

Project: Research

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