The time course of implicit affective picture processing: an eye movement study

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McSorley, Eugene ; van Reekum, Carien M. (2013)

Consistent with a negativity bias account, neuroscientific and behavioral evidence demonstrates modulation of even early sensory processes by unpleasant, potentially threat-relevant information. The aim of this research is to assess the extent to which pleasant and unpleasant visual stimuli presented extrafoveally capture attention and impact eye movement control. We report an experiment examining deviations in saccade metrics in the presence of emotional image distractors that are close to a nonemotional target. We additionally manipulate the saccade latency to test when the emotional distractor has its biggest impact on oculomotor control. The results demonstrate that saccade landing position was pulled toward unpleasant distractors, and that this pull was due to the quick saccade responses. Overall, these findings support a negativity bias account of early attentional control and call for the need to consider the time course of motivated attention when affect is implicit
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