Preliminary results from this research study were presented at the 51st annual meeting of the Society for Psychophysiological Research in Boston, MA, in 2011. This work was supported in part by NIMH grants MH098078 and MH094386 to Peter J. Lang.
Modulation of the initial light reflex during affective picture viewing
Article first published online: 22 MAY 2014
Copyright © 2014 Society for Psychophysiological Research
Volume 51, Issue 9, pages 815–818, September 2014
How to Cite
Henderson, R. R., Bradley, M. M. and Lang, P. J. (2014), Modulation of the initial light reflex during affective picture viewing. Psychophysiology, 51: 815–818. doi: 10.1111/psyp.12236
- Issue published online: 20 JUL 2014
- Article first published online: 22 MAY 2014
- Manuscript Accepted: 8 APR 2014
- Manuscript Received: 22 NOV 2013
- NIMH. Grant Numbers: MH098078, MH094386
- Pupil diameter;
- Light reflex;
An initial reflexive constriction of the pupil to stimulation—the light reflex—is primarily modulated by brightness, but is attenuated when participants are under threat of shock (i.e., fear-inhibited light reflex). The present study assessed whether the light reflex is similarly attenuated when viewing emotional pictures. Pupil diameter was recorded while participants viewed erotic, violent, and neutral scenes that were matched in brightness; scrambled versions identical in brightness were also presented as an additional control. Compared to viewing neutral scenes, the light reflex was reliably modulated by hedonic content, with significant attenuation both when viewing unpleasant as well as pleasant pictures. No differences in the light reflex were found among scrambled versions. Thus, emotional modulation of the initial light reflex is not confined to a context of fear and is not indicative of brightness differences when viewing pictures of natural scenes.