Pupillary correlates of lapses of sustained attention.

Abstract

The current study examined the extent to which pupillary responses (both pretrial baseline and phasic responses) would accurately track lapses of attention as predicted by theories of locus coeruleus norepinephrine (LC-NE) functioning. Participants performed a sustained attention task while pupil responses were continuously recorded. Periodically during the task, participants were presented with thought probes to determine if they were on or off task. The results suggested the pupillary responses accurately distinguished on from off-task states. Importantly, pretrial baseline pupil responses distinguished different types of lapses of attention, with inattentive and mind-wandering states being associated with small pretrial baseline pupil diameters on average and distracted states being associated with larger pretrial baseline pupil diameters on average compared to focused states. These results support the notion that pupil diameter is sensitive to different types of lapses of attention which may be associated with different LC-NE modes.

DOI: 10.3758/s13415-016-0417-4

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Cite this paper

@article{Unsworth2016PupillaryCO, title={Pupillary correlates of lapses of sustained attention.}, author={Nash Unsworth and Matthew K. Robison}, journal={Cognitive, affective & behavioral neuroscience}, year={2016}, volume={16 4}, pages={601-15} }