December 2022
Volume 22, Issue 14
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   December 2022
Perceptual consequences of pupil dilation
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Anke Huckauf
    Ulm University
  • Christoph Strauch
    Utrecht University
  • Lisa Eberhardt
    Ulm University
  • Footnotes
    Acknowledgements  funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) – <Projektnummer(n)> and is part of Priority Program SPP2199 Scalable Interaction Paradigms for Pervasive Computing Environments."
Journal of Vision December 2022, Vol.22, 3213. doi:
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      Anke Huckauf, Christoph Strauch, Lisa Eberhardt; Perceptual consequences of pupil dilation. Journal of Vision 2022;22(14):3213.

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

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Models of basic visual processing typicaqlly neglect the role of the pupils: Dilated pupils increase the intake of light, resulting in a better signal-to-noise ratio. This should in turn facilitate detection performance in the visual periphery. In Experiment 1, we investigated performance of detecting a black spot on a grey cricle when the outer parts of the screen were either dark (causing large pupils) or bright (decreasing pupil sizes). In this online experiment, detection rates for the targets were in fact higher with irrelevant dark background than with a bright one. These findings were replicated in the laboratory under controlled lightning conditions while measuring the pupil size. In addition to current pupil size, its size during the preceding trial predicts performance. This indicates that in addition to the absolute pupil size, also the pupillary dynamics modulates perceptual functions.


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