The size of the attentional window when measured by the pupillary response to light

Shira Tkacz-Domb, Yaffa Yeshurun

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This study measured the size of the attentional window when attention is narrowly focused, using attentional modulation of the pupillary light response – pupillary constriction when covertly attending a brighter than darker area. This allowed us to avoid confounds and biases involved in relying on observers’ response (e.g., RT), which contaminated previous measurements of this window. We presented letters to the right and left of fixation, each surrounded by task-irrelevant disks with varying distances. The disks were bright on one side and dark on the other. A central cue indicated which letter to attend. Luminance levels were identical across trials. We found that pupil size was modulated by the disks’ luminance when they were 1° away from the attended letter, but not when this distance was larger. This suggests that the diameter of the attentional window is at least 2°, which is twice as large as that established with behavioral measurements.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11878
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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