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30-04-2021 | Original Article

Do our eyes mirror our thought patterns? A study on the influence of convergent and divergent thinking on eye movement

Psychological Research
Saurabh Maheshwari, Viplav Tuladhar, Tsering Thargay, Pallavi Sarmah, Palakshi Sarmah, Kushal Rai
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Research indicates that deliberate thinking and eye movements are related. However, how various thought processes influence eye movements is not explored well. The present research examined the role of convergent and divergent thinking in eye movement. Divergent thinking involves novel alternatives, multiple uses, and unconventional answers which may require scanning visual surroundings precisely and extensively. Hence, it was hypothesized that divergent thinking would involve more scattered and detailed visual scanning than convergent thinking. Two experiments were conducted using repeated measures design: both involved a visual remote association task for convergent thinking and an adapted visual task of the alternate uses task for divergent thinking. Experiment 1 tracked participants’ eye movement while solving the task when images of objects were on the screen; whereas, in Experiment 2, the blank screen paradigm was used where the images of items were removed and the eyes were tracked while participants solved the task. Data analysis showed that the eye movements were more object focused during convergent thinking than divergent thinking. The results confirmed that participants in divergent thinking had more detailed and dispersed visual scanning than in convergent thinking.

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