Keep an Eye on Your Belongings: Gaze Dynamics Toward Familiar and Unfamiliar Objects

Oryah C. Lancry-Dayan, Tal Nahari, Gershon Ben-Shakhar, Yoni Pertzov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Through a series of studies, we investigate how people direct gaze toward familiar and unfamiliar objects. When an observer tries to encode objects, gaze is first directed preferentially to the familiar object followed by a later prioritization of the unfamiliar ones. We demonstrate that the initial preference reflects prioritization of personally significant information and could be volitionally controlled. The latter prioritization of the unfamiliar objects is determined by the immediate goals due to the task and is less controllable. These findings imply that the mechanism that guides gaze is flexible, affected by both long-term significance and short-term goals and could be only partially controlled. This study has also imperative practical implications for detecting concealed information using eye tracking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1888-1901
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Psychological Association


  • Cognition
  • Eye-movements
  • Memory detection
  • Visual attention
  • Volitional control


Dive into the research topics of 'Keep an Eye on Your Belongings: Gaze Dynamics Toward Familiar and Unfamiliar Objects'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this