Portions of this research were presented at the Thirty-Fourth Annual Meeting of the Society for Psychophysiological Research, Atlanta, GA, October 1994.
Pupillary responses index cognitive resource limitations
Article first published online: 30 JAN 2007
Volume 33, Issue 4, pages 457–461, July 1996
How to Cite
GRANHOLM, E., ASARNOW, R. F., SARKIN, A. J. and DYKES, K. L. (1996), Pupillary responses index cognitive resource limitations. Psychophysiology, 33: 457–461. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8986.1996.tb01071.x
This research was supported in part by NIMH grant MH14584, the Scottish Rite Benevolent Foundation's Schizophrenia Research Program, NMJ, USA, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
We thank Kim Hughes for her help with data collection and Dr.Michael J. Goldstein for his continued support throughout this project.
- Issue published online: 30 JAN 2007
- Article first published online: 30 JAN 2007
- (Received March 13, 1995; Accepted September 28, 1995)
- Publillary responses;
- Processing resources;
- Capacity limits;
- Digit span recall
Cognitive task-evoked pupillary responses reliably index information-processing loads. However, previous studies have reported inconsistent findings regarding the nature of the pupillary response when processing demands approach or exceed available processing resources. This condition was examined in 22 normal undergraduates by using pupillometric recordings during a digit span recall task, with 5 (low load), 9 (moderate load), and 13 (excessive load) digits per string. Pupillary responses increased systematically with increased processing load (to-be-recalled digits) until the limit of available resources (memory capacity of 7 ± 2 digits), when they reached asymptote and then declined with resource overload (>9 digits). These findings suggest that pupillary responses increase systematically with increased processing demands that are below resource limits, change little during active processing at or near resource limits, and begin to decline when processing demands exceed available resources.