Monday, Oct 9, 14:30-16:00  

University of Latvia, Faculty of Computing, Raiņa boulevard 19, Room 13

"Studying memory processes in realistic visual contexts through EEG-eye movement coregistration"

by Dr. Andrey R. Nikolaev

Lund Memory Lab, Department of Psychology, Lund University, Lund, 22100, Sweden;

KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

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Dr. Andrey R. Nikolaev is one of the world's most experienced and knowledgeable specialists using combined methods in perceptual and neuroscience research. His research has been published in the world's most important neuroscience journals, such as Neuroimage, Neuroscience Letters, Experimental Brain Research, Cerebral Cortex and others.

One of A. Nikolajev's contribution to the development of modern cognitive science methods is the development of a methodology combining EEG with eye movement recordings in a situation where experiment participants look at the environment around them.

The lecture will take place in the 13th auditorium (3rd floor, University of Latvia, Faculty of Computing, Raiņa Boulevard 19, Room 13)  on 9.10.2023 from 14:30-16:00.

In the lecture, the author will explain the tendency in modern perception research to focus on realistic everyday conditions, not only laboratory conditions. However, real-life scenarios require the use of specific methods, which is a challenge in modern science. The lecture will provide an overview of the methodological possibilities of studying the recording of eye movements about EEG in everyday environmental situations and the relationship of such research to the study of various psychological and brain states.

The lecture will explain the basic neural mechanisms of eye movements and their connection with human memory.

Eye movements provide memory for visual objects and organize visual components in space and time. Therefore, the neural correlates of memory processes respond to changes in the real-time environment. The lecture will explain in detail the interaction of attention and eye movements in short-term memory processes. Next, the lecture will explain the neural mechanisms of refixation (the transfer of the gaze to previously viewed places in the field of vision) and the connection with the functioning of memory.

In the final part of the lecture, there will be discussions about long-term, episodic memory. The author will explain in detail how the memory of events forms during the action of eye movements.

The lecture will be in English.


Contemporary experimental psychology is shifting away from constrained laboratory conditions toward tasks that better mimic real-world scenarios. Traditional laboratory experiments often present stimuli in a single location on the screen that is fixed during the experiment. This precludes active vision, i.e., the intimate involvement of eye movements in brain processes underlying perception, attention, and memory. In recent years, the tight connection between the neural mechanisms of eye movement control and memory has become increasingly apparent. Eye movements not simply supply memory with information by visually sampling objects, but also organize interrelated visual features in space and time. My research focuses on the neural correlates of memory processes that unfold in naturalistic viewing situations and in real time. However, studying the neural mechanisms of memory during natural viewing is challenging because of the intricate effects of sequential eye movements on ongoing brain activity. To address this problem, I use a methodology that combines electroencephalography (EEG) and eye-tracking recordings while participants perform free-viewing tasks.

In my talk, I will commence with an overview of the methodological aspects of EEG-eye movement coregistration in free viewing. I will discuss the remarkable sensitivity of EEG-eye movement coregistration to diverse psychological states and brain states, underscoring its utility for addressing various questions in cognitive psychology and neuroscience. Then I will move on to its application to memory research. First, I will elucidate the interaction of attention and eye movements in short-term memory encoding. Then I will focus on the neural mechanisms of refixations, i.e., the return of gaze to previously visited locations. Refixations compensate for memory loss during sustained visual exploration, as well as support successful memory formation in natural viewing. The final part of the talk will be devoted to long-term, episodic memory. I will describe how mental representations of episodic events build up during encoding with unrestricted eye movements.