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Journal Articles Translational Neuroscience Year : 2019

Autobiographical memory increases pupil dilation


Abstract Background Pupil activity has been widely considered as a “summed index” of physiological activities during cognitive processing. Methodology We investigated pupil dilation during retrieval of autobiographical memory and compared pupil diameter with a control condition in which participants had to count aloud. We also measured pupil diameters retrieval of free (i.e., first memory that comes to mind), positive, and negative memories (memories associated, respectively, with the words “happy” and “sad”). Results Analyses demonstrated larger pupil diameters during the free, positive, and negative autobiographical memory retrieval than during the control task. Analyses also demonstrated no significant differences in pupil diameters across the three autobiographical memory conditions. Conclusion These outcomes demonstrate that, compared with counting, autobiographical retrieval results in a larger pupil size. However, the emotional valence of memories yields non-significant effect on pupil diameters. Our findings demonstrate how autobiographical memory retrieval yields pupil dilation.


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hal-03342062 , version 1 (04-03-2022)



Mohamad El Haj, Steve M. J. Janssen, Karim Gallouj, Quentin Lenoble. Autobiographical memory increases pupil dilation. Translational Neuroscience, 2019, 10 (1), pp.280-287. ⟨10.1515/tnsci-2019-0044⟩. ⟨hal-03342062⟩
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