Speaker: Dr. Eva Gilboa-Schechtman

Time: 10-11a.m., 17 October, 2019

Venue: #1113 Wangkezhen Building, Peking University

Abstract: Pupillometry (measurement of pupil diameter) has been used by psychologists for more than 60 years, and recently has been re-discovered by neuroscientists due to its link with norepinephrine system. In this talk, I will present three pupillometry studies in which we used different sound stimuli (from natural environment sounds to rapid tone-pip sequences) to investigate how the brain tracks the statistics of our surroundings.

In the first study, we investigated what determines auditory salience—the automatic attraction of attention by sound—finding that more salient sounds evoke an earlier startle response indexed by micro-saccadic inhibition. In the second study, we used rapid tone-pip sequences that contained perceptually salient pattern-changes associated with abrupt structural violations vs. emergence of regular structure and found norepinephrine, indexed by pupil dilation response, signals unexpected uncertainty (a form of surprise) even in an extremely rapid timescale and without explicit tracking. In the last study, we studied sustained pupil dilation response as an objective measure of sustained attention in the older listeners (>65 years old). This opens the possibility of using pupillometry for characterizing failure of attention in various populations.

Host: Prof. Kunlin Wei