At the beginning of a cognitive and emotional processing there is usually the perception of external stimuli. Visual processing starts with the perception by the eye. For example, in reading the features of letters and words are first perceived with the eye, then forwarded to primary visual centers and finally fed to further analysis and assessment to higher cognitive centers.
An eye-tracker is essentially a sophisticated eye-tracking camera that records approximately every millisecond, the movements of the eye with a projected infrared reflex. This makes it possible to record precisely for how long letters in reading or specific areas of images or movies are fixated. Eye movement data provide initial evidence for the processing of visual stimuli. Which information can be processed by only one view? Processing of which information lasts longer? Does our brain process words, pictures and faces the same way? What are the effects of attention, working memory, reading, or emotional disorders on visual processing?
As part of the Cluster of Excellence "Languages of Emotion", the eye movement measurement is used primarily in the exploration of the reception of emotional content in pictures, movies and literature. By recording eye movements and fixation positions on a millisecond basis, accurate information can be obtained on when a specific information from a certain medium is processed. Especially in combination with the other psycho-physiological and imaging techniques at the D.I.NE. (e.g. EEG, EDA, EMG, fNIRS, fMRI) one can establish a direct relationship between visual perception and cognitive and emotional processing.
In the three eye labs D.I.N.E. eye movements and positions of the eyes can be recorded with five high-speed eye tracker (iViewX; EyeLink 1000/2000, VisuaStim).