The eyes are a window into memory

The eyes are a window into memory


• The oculomotor and hippocampal memory systems are both phylogenetically old.
• There is a vast structural and functional network linking the two systems.
• Stored memories influence viewing on a moment-to-moment basis.
• Eye movements reveal multiple memory representations within the same record.
• Eye movements may by functional for the development and retrieval of memory.


The oculomotor system may be a natural and unique effector system to reveal the development and expression of memory due to its shared evolutionary history with the hippocampus that has resulted in an extensive set of structural and functional connections between the systems. Eyetracking provides a means for understanding the nature of the information that is being processed on a moment-to-moment basis, and it can reveal the use of multiple, distinct representations that may be prioritized in their guidance of viewing according to task goals. Critically, eye movements may not just passively express the contents of memory. Eye movements may be functional for the formation, retrieval, and reconstruction of memory; thereby revealing the mechanisms critical for memory.

Please note that this supports the Numenta position that location is part of representation.