Memorizing critical objects and their locations is an essential part of everyday life. In the present study, incidental encoding of objects in naturalistic scenes during search was compared to explicit memorization of those scenes. To investigate if prior knowledge of scene structure influences these two types of encoding differently, we used meaningless arrays of objects as well as objects in real-world, semantically meaningful images. Surprisingly, when participants were asked to recall scenes, their memory performance was markedly better for searched objects than for objects they had explicitly tried to memorize, even though participants in the search condition were not explicitly asked to memorize objects. This finding held true even when objects were observed for an equal amount of time in both conditions. Critically, the recall benefit for searched over memorized objects in scenes was eliminated when objects were presented on uniform, non-scene backgrounds rather than in a full scene context. Thus, scene semantics not only help us search for objects in naturalistic scenes, but appear to produce a representation that supports our memory for those objects beyond intentional memorization.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Although conjunctival goblet cells are a major cell type in ocular mucosa, their responses during ocular allergy are largely unexplored. This review summarizes the recent findings that provide key insights into the mechanisms by which their function and survival are altered during chronic inflammatory responses, including ocular allergy. RECENT FINDINGS: Conjunctiva represents a major component of the ocular mucosa that harbors specialized lymphoid tissue. Exposure of mucin-secreting goblet cells to allergic and inflammatory mediators released by the local innate and adaptive immune cells modulates proliferation, secretory function, and cell survival. Allergic mediators like histamine, leukotrienes, and prostaglandins directly stimulate goblet cell mucin secretion and consistently increase goblet cell proliferation. Goblet cell mucin secretion is also detectable in a murine model of allergic conjunctivitis. Additionally, primary goblet cell cultures allow evaluation of various inflammatory cytokines with respect to changes in goblet cell mucin secretion, proliferation, and apoptosis. These findings in combination with the preclinical mouse models help understand the goblet cell responses and their modulation during chronic inflammatory diseases, including ocular allergy. SUMMARY: Recent findings related to conjunctival goblet cells provide the basis for novel therapeutic approaches, involving modulation of goblet cell mucin production, to improve treatment of ocular allergies.