Mixed saccadic paradigm releases top-down emotional interference in antisaccade and prosaccade trials

Exp Brain Res. 2016 Oct;234(10):2915-22. doi: 10.1007/s00221-016-4693-6. Epub 2016 Jun 13.


Saccadic movements are well known to involve specific top-down or bottom-up processes depending on the task and paradigm characteristics. For example, after the Gap bottom-up effect, it has been shown that an Instruction effect, i.e., asking to identify a peripheral target instead of simply look toward it, reduces latencies in prosaccade (PS) but not in antisaccade (AS) tasks. Nevertheless, in a mixed task comprising AS, PS and nosaccade trials, such differences vanished. Thus, it has been suggested that a top-down effect could be dependent on tonic or phasic neuronal activation and that only the tonic frontal activation could enable interferences with other cortical regions involved. In this study, we tested the interference of emotional information with saccadic performance depending on cognitive cost of the task. We used emotional facial expression cues in block and mixed paradigms. Using a generalized linear mixed model for the analysis, we found a main effect of the paradigm, with task and emotional effects only in mixed saccadic task that could suggest a top-down effect of emotional information processing over the regions involved in saccadic performances. Moreover, we demonstrated that prosaccades latencies are significantly reduced by emotion, while antisaccades are significantly increased, suggesting a disinhibition of reflexive saccades.

Keywords: Cognitive control; Emotion; Inhibition; Prefrontal cortex; Saccade; Top-down.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cues
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Fixation, Ocular / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Saccades / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult