September 2019
Volume 19, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   May 2019
Perceptual expectancy is revealed by pupillometry and correlates with autistic traits
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Antonella Pome
    Department of Neuroscience, Psychology, Pharmacology and Child Health, University of Florence, Florence, Italy.
  • Paola Binda
    Department of Translational Research on New Technologies in Medicine and Surgery, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
    Institute of Neuroscience, National Research Council, Pisa, Italy.
  • Guido Marco Cicchini
    Institute of Neuroscience, National Research Council, Pisa, Italy.
  • David Charles Burr
    Department of Neuroscience, Psychology, Pharmacology and Child Health, University of Florence, Florence, Italy.
    Institute of Neuroscience, National Research Council, Pisa, Italy.
    School of Psychology, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Journal of Vision May 2019, Vol.19, 316d. doi:https://doi.org/10.1167/19.10.316d
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      Antonella Pome, Paola Binda, Guido Marco Cicchini, David Charles Burr; Perceptual expectancy is revealed by pupillometry and correlates with autistic traits. Journal of Vision 2019;19(10):316d. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/19.10.316d.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Priming refers to increased performance (usually measured by reaction times) on repetition of a perceptual feature. In Maljkovic and Nakayama’s (1994) paradigm, three pseudo-diamond shapes are displayed each trial, two of one color and one of another, and participants identify rapidly the shape of the odd-colored (target) diamond. When target colors repeat, reaction times decrease, consistent with perceptual expectation for that target color. We replicated this study while monitoring pupil size, with 27 neurotypical participants for whom we had measured Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ). For participants with low AQ, pupil diameter increased more on trials where the target color swapped than when it repeated, consistent with a reaction to violated perceptual expectancy. The dependence of pupil dilation on previous trial color correlated strongly with AQ scores. This result is consistent with the suggestion that integration of prior information may be sub-optimal in individuals with high autistic traits (Pellicano and Burr, Trends Cogn Sci, 2012). However, neither the average pupil response nor the difference in reaction times were predicted by AQ. Overall the results show that pupil response can provide useful non-invasive measures of priming effects related to perceptual expectancy, and go on to show how this objective measure can vary with personality traits such as AQ.

Acknowledgement: ERC Grant Pupiltraits 
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