Predicting Dyslexia in Adolescents from Eye Movements during Free Painting Viewing

Brain Sci. 2022 Aug 3;12(8):1031. doi: 10.3390/brainsci12081031.


It is known that dyslexics present eye movement abnormalities. Previously, we have shown that eye movement abnormalities during reading or during saccade and vergence testing can predict dyslexia successfully. The current study further examines this issue focusing on eye movements during free exploration of paintings; the dataset was provided by a study in our laboratory carried by Ward and Kapoula. Machine learning (ML) classifiers were applied to eye movement features extracted by the software AIDEAL: a velocity threshold analysis reporting amplitude speed and disconjugacy of horizontal saccades. In addition, a new feature was introduced that concerns only the very short periods during which the eyes were moving, one to the left the other to the right; such periods occurred mostly during fixations between saccades; we calculated a global index of the frequency of such disconjugacy segments, of their duration and their amplitude. Such continuous evaluation of disconjugacy throughout the time series of eye movements differs from the disconjugacy feature that describes inequality of the saccade amplitude between the two eyes. The results show that both AIDEAL features, and the Disconjugacy Global Index (DGI) enable successful categorization of dyslexics from non-dyslexics, at least when applying this analysis to the specific paintings used in the present study. We suggest that this high power of predictability arises from both the content of the paintings selected and the physiologic relevance of eye movement features extracted by the AIDEAL and the DGI.

Keywords: dyslexia; eye movement; feature engineering; machine learning; paintings free exploration; saccades; vergence.

Grant support

Alae Eddine El Hmimdi is funded by Orasis-Ear and ANRT, CIFRE.