Anticipation of cognitive conflict is reflected in microsaccades: Evidence from a cued-flanker task

Keywords: Microsaccades, eye movements, eye tracking, attention, cognitive conflict, cued-flanker task

Abstract

Microsaccade frequency has recently been shown to be sensitive to high-level cognitive processes such as attention and memory. In the present study we explored the effects of anticipated cognitive conflict. Participants were administered a variant of the flanker task, which is known to elicit cognitive interference. At the beginning of each trial, participants received a colour cue providing information about the upcoming target frame. In two thirds of the trials, the cue reliably informed the participants that in the upcoming trial the flankers either matched the central target letter or not. Hence, participants could accurately anticipate whether cognitive conflict would arise or not. On neutral trials, the cue provided no useful information. The results showed that microsaccadic rate time-locked to cue onset was reduced on trials in which an upcoming cognitive conflict was expected. These findings provide new insights about top-down modulations of microsaccade dynamics.

Author Biographies

Mario Dalmaso, University of Padova
Department of Developmental and Social Psychology
Luigi Castelli, University of Padova
Department of Developmental and Social Psychology
Giovanni Galfano, University of Padova
Department of Developmental and Social Psychology
Published
24-01-2019
How to Cite
Dalmaso, M., Castelli, L., & Galfano, G. (2019). Anticipation of cognitive conflict is reflected in microsaccades: Evidence from a cued-flanker task. Journal of Eye Movement Research, 12(6). https://doi.org/10.16910/jemr.12.6.3
Section
Special Thematic Issue: „Microsaccades: Empirical Research and Methodological Advances“