Saccadic Eye Movements are Related to Personality Traits: A Comparison of Maltreated and Non- maltreated Young Women

Author(s): Jiri Jost, Helena Havlisova, Zuzana Bilkova, Olga Malinovska and Zuzana Stefankova

Objective: The purpose of the study was to compare the relationship between the personality and eye movements of non-maltreated subjects and maltreated subjects.

Method: The control group consisted of 129 women with an average age of 18 years while the clinical group was made up of subjects with a long history of abuse or maltreatment. The prosaccade and antisaccade task and a BFI-44 which assesses the “Big Five” personality factors were administered to all of the participants. For the statistical analysis, linear modeling and discriminant analysis have been used.

Results: By controls we have found an association between eye movements and self-reported personality as indexed by the “Big Five” personality factors. In contrast, we noticed with maltreated subjects a dissociation between the oculomotor finding and personality. This dissociation may be regarded as a diagnostic marker of the maltreatment. Dissociative effects of maltreatment differed because of personality traits. The largest were by Agreeableness and Openness, where the reliability of the oculomotor test was weaker. Extraversion, Conscientiousness and Neuroticism, all associated with eye movements, are comparable with the members of the control group.

Conclusion: The role of antisaccade task can contribute to the diagnostics of the adverse impact of maltreatment on the personality of an individual.

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