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Analysis of eye movements can provide insights into processes underlying performance of cognitive tasks. We recorded eye movements in healthy participants and people with idiopathic Parkinson's disease during a token foraging task based on the spatial working memory component of the widely used Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery. Participants selected boxes (using a mouse click) to reveal hidden tokens. Tokens were never hidden under a box where one had been found before, such that memory had to be used to guide box selections. A key measure of performance in the task is between search errors (BSEs) in which a box where a token has been found is selected again. Eye movements were found to be most commonly directed toward the next box to be clicked on, but fixations also occurred at rates higher than expected by chance on boxes farther ahead or back along the search path. Looking ahead and looking back in this way was found to correlate negatively with BSEs and was significantly reduced in patients with Parkinson's disease. Refixating boxes where tokens had already been found correlated with BSEs and the severity of Parkinson's disease symptoms. It is concluded that eye movements can provide an index of cognitive planning in the task. Refixations on locations where a token has been found may also provide a sensitive indicator of visuospatial memory integrity. Eye movement measures derived from the spatial working memory task may prove useful in the assessment of executive functions as well as neurological and psychiatric diseases in the future.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of cognitive neuroscience
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Memory related to spatial information.
The observation and analysis of movements in a task with an emphasis on the amount of time required to perform the task.
Learning the correct route through a maze to obtain reinforcement. It is used for human or animal populations. (Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms, 6th ed)
Methods used to take into account and incorporate spatial autocorrelation and regional variation into regression analysis models of data that has spatial dependency, and also to provide information on the spatial relationships among the variables.
Measures of spatial cognition and memory.
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