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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Effect of stimuli congruency on gaze behavior and memory


We investigated whether schema congruency differentially affects low level sensory processing (eye gaze) compared to higher-level cognition (memory). Participants performed a two-phase eye tracking task; first a baseline phase with only congruent cartoon events, and subsequently an experimental phase in which the same events were adapted to remain congruent or become incongruent to a theme. Results revealed that participants became quicker in recognizing the congruent cartoon events compared to incongruent in the experimental phase, indicating improved memory for congruent cartoon events. No mean difference in gaze towards congruent versus incongruent events was observed. Surprisingly, a slight bias towards gazing to the left side of the screen in the baseline phase diminished during the experimental phase, indicating that the schema congruency manipulation might affect gaze behavior. Taken together, our results suggest that our schema congruency manipulation affects gaze behavior and memory, but further eye tracking analysis could reveal the dynamic nature of this effect.

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