This research was partly supported by grants of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF-01GW0710), the Hans Sauer Foundation, and the Freiburg University Scientific Society (“Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft Freiburg i.Br.”). Christoph P. Kaller was supported by a Fellowship of the RTG 843 “Mechanisms of Neuronal Signal Transduction” funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). We thank K.C. Klauer for invaluable discussion of an earlier version of this manuscript and the Division of Social Psychology and Methodology, Department of Psychology, University of Freiburg, for kindly providing the technical equipment and laboratory facilities employed in this study.
Eye movements and visuospatial problem solving: Identifying separable phases of complex cognition
Article first published online: 14 APR 2009
Copyright © 2009 Society for Psychophysiological Research
Volume 46, Issue 4, pages 818–830, July 2009
How to Cite
Kaller, C. P., Rahm, B., Bolkenius, K. and Unterrainer, J. M. (2009), Eye movements and visuospatial problem solving: Identifying separable phases of complex cognition. Psychophysiology, 46: 818–830. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2009.00821.x
- Issue published online: 9 JUN 2009
- Article first published online: 14 APR 2009
- (Received July 3, 2008; Accepted October 1, 2008)
- Eye movements;
- Problem structure;
- Tower of London
Identifying overtly observable indicators of cognitive processes should provide a promising basis for a more precise tracking of the associated cognitive and neural events. In the current study we used recordings of eye movements to gain deeper insight into the time course of visuospatial problem solving as measured by the Tower of London. Single-trial, saccade-locked analyses revealed that, despite the complexity of the implemented task, gaze alternations between start and goal state followed a highly regular pattern. Consistent with the buildup of an internal representation, the first two fixations were of constant duration and unaffected by experimental variations of planning demands. Instead, planning manipulations exclusively influenced the duration of the very last fixation before problem execution. Our results demonstrate that different phases of complex cognition can be identified on a single-trial level using eye movement analyses.