Eye Movements Do Not Reflect Retrieval Processes: Limits of the Eye-Mind Hypothesis
This research investigated whether eye movements are informative about retrieval processes. Participants learned facts about persons and locations, and the number of facts (fan) learned about each person and location was manipulated. During a subsequent recognition test, participants made more gazes to high-fan facts than to low-fan facts, and gazes to high-fan facts had a longer duration than gazes to low-fan facts. However, there was no relation between the order in which items were fixated and the relative effect of person or location fan. The effect of person and location fan on gaze duration also did not differ with whether it was the person or location being fixated. A model assuming that the process of retrieval is independent of eye movements was successfully fit to the data on the distribution of gaze durations. According to this model, the effect of fan on number of gazes and gaze duration is an artifact of the longer retrieval times for high-fan facts.