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Task preparation involves multiple component processes, including a general evaluative process that signals the need for adjustments in control, and the engagement of task-specific control settings. Here we examined the dynamics of these different mechanisms in preparing the attentional control system for visual search. We explored preparatory activity using pupil dilation, a well-established measure of task demands and effortful processing. In an initial exploratory experiment, participants were cued at the start of each trial to search for either a salient color singleton target (an easy search task) or a low-salience shape singleton target (a difficult search task). Pupil dilation was measured during the preparation period from cue onset to search display onset. Mean dilation was larger in preparation for the difficult shape target than the easy color target. In two additional experiments, we sought to vary effects of evaluative processing and task-specific preparation separately. Experiment 2 showed that when the color and shape search tasks were matched for difficulty, the shape target no longer evoked larger dilations, and the pattern of results was in fact reversed. In Experiment 3, we manipulated difficulty within a single feature dimension, and found that the difficult search task evoked larger dilations. These results suggest that pupil dilation reflects expectations of difficulty in preparation for a search task, consistent with the activity of an evaluative mechanism. We did not find consistent evidence for relationship between pupil dilation and search performance (accuracy and response timing), suggesting that pupil dilation during search preparation may not be strongly linked to ongoing task-specific preparation.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: PloS one
Pupillometry research has experienced an enormous revival in the last two decades. Here we briefly review the surge of recent studies on task-evoked pupil dilation in the context of cognitive control ...
We investigated pupil dilation in 96 subjects during task preparation and during a post-trial interval in a visual search task and an auditory working memory task. Completely informative difficulty cu...
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Differences in pupil dilation are observed for studied compared to new items in recognition memory. According to cognitive load theory, this effect reflects the greater cognitive demands of retrieving...
Listening to speech in noise can be effortful but when motivated people seem to be more persevering. Previous research showed effects of monetary reward on autonomic responses like cardiovascular reac...
Pain assessment is crucial in clinical practice. Currently, subjective self-report is considered the most appropriate method to evaluate pain. Although several methods to assess pain objec...
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Laser-assisted cataract surgery is an innovative and growing procedure to improve the safety and results of modern cataract surgery. However, this technique faces to some obstacles: econom...
The relationship between the target effect site concentration of remifentanil and the pupil diameter and reactivity in response to a standard noxious stimulus in cardiac surgery during ext...
The purpose of this research study is to test whether researchers can reliably measure the response pupils have when an acute painful stimulus is experienced. Changes in the size of the pu...
The use of biological mechanisms, usually involving living organisms such as bacteria, for the reduction or regulation of the population of noxious, destructive, or dangerous pests. Environmental concerns have focused attention on natural forms of disease control as potentially safe and effective alternatives to chemical pesticides. This has led to increased efforts to develop control strategies that rely on natural predators and parasites or that involve genetically engineered microbial pest control agents.
The tendency to react to stimuli that are different from, but somewhat similar to, the stimulus used as a conditioned stimulus.
Agents causing contraction of the pupil of the eye. Because the size of the pupil is under the antagonistic control of the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems, drugs affecting either system can cause miosis. Drugs that mimic or potentiate the parasympathetic input to the circular constrictor muscle and drugs that inhibit sympathetic input to the radial dilator muscle tend to contract the pupils. Some sources use the term miotics only for the parasympathomimetics but any drug used to induce miosis is included here.
Unequal pupil size, which may represent a benign physiologic variant or a manifestation of disease. Pathologic anisocoria reflects an abnormality in the musculature of the iris (IRIS DISEASES) or in the parasympathetic or sympathetic pathways that innervate the pupil. Physiologic anisocoria refers to an asymmetry of pupil diameter, usually less than 2mm, that is not associated with disease.
Constriction of the pupil in response to light stimulation of the retina. It refers also to any reflex involving the iris, with resultant alteration of the diameter of the pupil. (Cline et al., Dictionary of Visual Science, 4th ed)