Paper abstract bibtex
People look at emptied spatial locations where information has been presented during encoding. There is evidence that this so-called 'looking at nothing' behaviour plays a functional role in memory retrieval of visuospatial and verbal information. How-ever, it is unclear whether this effect is caused by the oculomo-tor movement of the eyes per se or if covertly shifting atten-tion is sufficient to cause the observed differences in retrieval performance. In an experimental study (N = 26), participants were manipulated in being able to shift either their eyes or their focus of attention to a blank spatial location whilst retrieving verbal information that was associated with the location dur-ing a preceding encoding phase. Results indicate that it is not the oculomotor movement of the eyes that causes the facilita-tion while retrieving verbal materials, but rather covert shifts of attention are sufficient to promote differences in retrieval performance.