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Charisse B. Pickron, Neely C. Miller, Jed T. Elison; Quantifying electrophysiological responses in a covert orienting task designed for eye tracking. Journal of Vision 2020;20(11):1498. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.11.1498.
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We explored whether attentional biases, elicited with an eye-tracking based attentional cueing paradigm, could be similarly interrogated with concurrent recording of time-locked electrophysiological responses.
Twenty-nine adult participants completed a cueing paradigm while eye movement (not reported here) and event-related potentials were recorded. Stimuli included images of faces with fearful, neutral, and happy expressions. Participants first fixated on a central crosshair for a variable duration. Then a pair of faces (i.e., competing cues) was presented within the extrafoveal visual field for 24 ms. The paired faces expressed either the same (i.e., fearful vs. fearful) or different (i.e., fearful vs. neutral) emotions. Cue faces were followed by backward masks presented for 126 ms. Lastly, a single face (i.e., target) appeared laterally, with a happy expression for 1000 ms.
Preliminary results included data from 14 participants (15-20 will be added before the meeting). In response to cue faces, we found a positive peak 90 milliseconds after onset (i.e., P100) and a negative peak 130 milliseconds following onset (i.e., N170) in left and right parietal-occipital scalp regions. In response to the target face we found early occurring positive and negative peaked components in the frontal and parietal regions potentially indicative of oculomotor planning. These components occurred approximately 50 milliseconds prior to saccadic eye movement identified in the waveform. Additionally, we found evidence of a later occurring negative component approximately 150 milliseconds following target onset (i.e., N170 component) in parietal-occipital regions.
We observed canonical electrophysiological correlates indicative of early visual perception in a covert orienting task designed to restrict the amount of visual information reaching visual cortex. Next steps include assessing possible amplitude and latency differences based upon cue and target face location congruency. These analyses will help characterize neurophysiological correlates of attention bias to threat.
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