Researchers show that eye vergence influences visual attention

February 7, 2013
The new study provides new data around attention and visual perception.

The journal PLOS ONE has recently published a study which provides new data around attention and visual perception. The article "A role of eye vergence in covert attention" was authored by researchers from the Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour (IR3C) the University of Barcelona.

Even if the neural mechanism that produces visual attention is not clearly known, certain trends in perceptual and neural responses have been observed in the absence of eye movements. The study describes the relation between fixational eye movements which take part in fixation, so-named eye vergence, and covert attention. modulate vergence movements (the angle of eye vergence) to catch attention. This illustrates the relation between eye vergence and bottom-up attention. In visual and auditory cue/no-cue paradigms, the angle of vergence is greater in the cue condition than in the no-cue condition. According to reseachers, this shows a top-down attention component.

Therefore, the study proves that there is a close link between covert attention and modulation in eye vergence during eye fixation. It suggests a basis for the use of eye vergence as a tool for measuring attention and may provide new insights into attention and perceptual disorders.

Among the applications of the study, researchers address the diagnosis of the (ADHD) in children and adults. ADHD is a chronic disorder which occurs in 3-6 % of children, and in more than 50% of the cases it continues in adulthood. A is necessary to receive an effective treatment in which parents and teachers help the child to develop his or her potential. Diagnosis is possible thanks to the clinical data got from the people who suffer ADHA who are characterized by not paying attention to the objects they look to.

Braingaze is a technological company led by Hans Supèr and Laszlo Bax, which taking as departure point the results of his research on the visual attention, has developed a model able to make an accurate detection of this ADHD biomarker, using some simple stimuli in a test which lasts less than 30 minutes. The model can be also used to analyse the attention that a driver poses in the driving activity he or she is developing. This offers a possibility to improve the systems to detect tiredness which are already in the most modern cars. Finally, the model can be also applied to neuromarketing. The method developed by the company Braingaze uses eye tracking to detect all fixation points, in order words, all the points which received the subject's attention.

Explore further: Studying everyday eye movements could aid in diagnosis of neurological disorders

More information: Puig, M. et al. A Role of Eye Vergence in Covert Attention. PLOS ONE, 2013.

Related Stories

Attention and awareness aren't the same

June 6, 2011

Paying attention to something and being aware of it seems like the same thing -they both involve somehow knowing the thing is there. However, a new study, which will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, ...

Recommended for you

Study reveals areas of the brain impacted by PTSD

January 23, 2017

Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and the VA Boston Healthcare System are one step closer to understanding the specific nature of brain changes associated with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Where belief in free will is linked to happiness

January 23, 2017

Western and Asian cultures tend to have different core beliefs around free will. In a recent study published in Frontiers in Psychology, Jingguang Li, professor at Dali University, and his research team show the link between ...

For health and happiness, share good news

January 22, 2017

Service members, including both active and recently separated, have been called upon to fight overseas and to assist during natural disasters at home. They can face unique challenges when they return in both the workplace ...

The great unknown—risk-taking behaviour in adolescents

January 19, 2017

Adolescents are more likely to ignore information that could prompt them to rethink risky decisions. This may explain why information campaigns on risky behaviors such as drug abuse tend to have only limited success. These ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.