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Durham University



Publication details for Professor Amanda Ellison

Ball, K., Lane, A., Ellison, A. & Schenk, T. (2011). Spatial priming in visual search: memory for body-centred information. Experimental Brain Research 212(3): 477-485.

Author(s) from Durham


Spatial priming allows memory for target locations to be evaluated, whereby when a target appears in the same location across trials, participants become more efficient at locating it and consequently their search times decrease. Previously, we reported priming effects when the location of a target was repeated with respect to the participant’s body but not when it was repeated relative to their eye position; therefore, suggesting that body-centred information is available after a delay of at least a few seconds (Ball et al. in Exp Brain Res 204:585–594, 2010). However, we were unable to rule out the possibility that stable allocentric cues within the room may have contributed to the priming effects that we observed. In this current study, we introduced a condition where despite participants moving to a new location between trials, their position relative to the target was maintained. This movement disrupted any potential room-based cues about the target location. While we replicated our previous finding of priming when the location of the target was repeated relative to the viewer when no movement was required, we also found robust priming effects when participants moved to a new location in between trials. Thus, we provide clear evidence that in our spatial priming task, the location of the target was being coded in a body-centred reference frame and that this information is available after a delay.

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