Influence of subject-experimenter distance and sex of experimenter on conjoint lateral eye movements in the face-to-face experimental condition

Conjoint lateral eye movements (CLEM) which accompany reflection before answering a question are theorized to be indicative of cerebral hemispheric lateralization of function. Inconsistent results obtained from previous experimental designs in which the experimenter directly faces the subjects were hypothesized to result from two factors, subject-experimenter distance and sex of experimenter, which have varied unsystematically. These factors were used as independent variables in this experiment with one male and one female experimenter, each at two distances, creating a matrix of four experimental conditions. Within each of these four conditions a third independent variable, stimulus question type, was employed to elicit subject CLEM responses, the dependent variable. Stimulus questions were of two types which have previously elicited the greatest number of left-versus right-CLEM, spatial-emotional and verbal-nonemotional questions respectively. Twenty, male, right-handed, college student subjects were assigned by block randomization to the four conditions. Subjects’ first eye movement responses to each question were covertly recorded through direct observation. An analysis of variance was computed to determine relative effects of distance and sex. Pearson r correlations were computed to investigate the relationships between direction of CLEM and question type in each experimental condition. All results were statistically non-significant. It is speculated that non-significance may be attributable to several design factors. It is suggested that this experiment be replicated using a larger number of pre-tested stimulus questions, more distances over a larger range, and that more subjects be used at a time of less stress external to the experiment.