Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Psychological and Brain Sciences

Degree Program

Experimental Psychology, PhD

Committee Chair

Bego. Campbell

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

DeCaro, Marci

Committee Member

Hindy, Nicholas

Committee Member

Depue, Brendan

Committee Member

Swartz, Kristin

Committee Member

Noles, Nicholaus

Author's Keywords

memory enhancement; saccade-induced retrieval enhancement; individual differences; recognition memory; attention; output interference


Memory accuracy and detail hold practical importance, and psychology has studied means to improve memory. One such means is performing visually guided saccades immediately before a memory test. Previous work has found this intervention to improve memory performance, an effect dubbed Saccade-Induced Retrieval Enhancement or SIRE. The top-down attentional control account posits that SIRE occurs because saccades activate attentional control regions in the brain, which contributes to executing top-down attentional control when searching memory. The current experiment tested this account of SIRE by attempting to replicate previous results and investigating whether a different attentional task, the Revised Attention Network Test (ANT-R), would produce SIRE-like effects. Attention interventions were expected to be specifically beneficial in reducing output interference—a phenomenon where memory accuracy declines in the latter parts of a recognition test—and improving subjective judgments of recollective experience. Individual differences in attentional control and handedness consistency were also considered. It was expected that individuals who are less inclined to execute top-down attentional control in their everyday life would benefit more from attention-based memory interventions. Handedness consistency was measured and controlled for, because previous research has indicated that handedness consistency may have a moderating effect on SIRE. In contrast to predictions, although output interference was found, the new attentional intervention did not improve memory performance. Neither saccades nor the ANT-R increased recollective detail, and self-reported individual differences in attentional control did not affect recognition. Support was found for saccades reducing output interference; however, evidence also suggested that the control condition reduced output interference for discrimination. Failure to fully replicate previous SIRE results and to provide consistent for support the top-down attentional control account generate questions regarding the reliability of saccades as a memory enhancement technique and future research is needed to fully understand when and how this effect occurs.