This study assessed whether specific eye movement patterns are observed during emotional autobiographical retrieval. Participants were asked to retrieve positive, negative and neutral memories while their scan path was recorded by an eye-tracker. Results showed that positive and negative emotional memories triggered more fixations and saccades but shorter fixation duration than neutral memories. No significant differences were observed between emotional and neutral memories for duration and amplitude of saccades. Positive and negative retrieval triggered similar eye movement (i.e., similar number of fixations and saccades, fixation duration, duration of saccades, and amplitude of saccades). Interestingly, the participants reported higher visual imagery for emotional memories than for neutral memories. The findings demonstrate similarities and differences in eye movement during retrieval of neutral and emotional memories. Eye movement during autobiographical retrieval seems to be triggered by the creation of visual mental images as the latter are indexed by autobiographical reconstruction.
Keywords: Autobiographical memory; Emotion; Eye movement; Fixations; Saccades.
Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier B.V.