Saccade Trajectories in the Presence of Emotional and Non-emotional Distractors
A considerable body of research on saccade trajectory has been carried out to gain a better understanding of cognitive processes. Deviations in a saccade trajectory could be caused by the distractor stimuli appearing during the saccade initiation. Several recent studies explored specific distractor features that make saccades curve away from distractor stimuli. They have shown that this deviation is affected not only by visual, but also by semantic saliency. However, many previous studies have focused only on the visual images with presumably evolutionary significance, such as violent scenes or frightened faces. The general purpose of this study was to understand whether more abstract semantic information, such as word meaning, could affect the saccade trajectory. In particular, the focus of our interest was saccade deviation after the presentation of emotional distractors compared to non-emotional ones. For a more detailed study, various measures of saccade trajectories were used, such as saccade deviation, overall direction and initial direction. Contrary to the previous research, our results did not match our initial hypothesis about significant changes in the saccade trajectory owing to the word meaning. The results suggest that competitive interaction of word meaning and saccade timing could be more complex than has been previously thought.