Training facilitates cognitive control on pupil dilation

Jan Ehlers, Christoph Strauch, Anke Huckauf

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Physiological responses are generally involuntary; however, real-time feedback enables, at least to a certain extent, to voluntary control automatic processes. Recently, it was demonstrated that even pupil dilation is subject to controlled interference. To address effects of training on the ability to exercise control on pupil dilation, the current study examines repeated exercise over seven successive days. Participants utilize self-induced changes in arousal to increase pupil diameter, real-time feedback was applied to evaluate and improve individual performance. We observe inter-individual differences with regard to responsiveness of the pupillary response: six of eight participants considerably increase pupil diameter already during the first session, two exhibit only slight changes, and all showed rather stable performance throughout training. There was a trend towards stronger peak amplitudes that tend to occur increasingly early across time. Hence, higher cognitive control on pupil dilations can be practiced by most users and may therefore provide an appropriate input mechanism in human-computer interaction.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEye Tracking Research and Applications Symposium (ETRA)
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
ISBN (Print)9781450357067
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2018

Publication series

NameEye Tracking Research and Applications Symposium (ETRA)


  • Biofeedback
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Pupillometry


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