Alan Langus & Tom Fritzsche, Department of Linguistics, University of Potsdam

I. Basics

With the increased application of eye tracking in infant research the measure of pupillometry has become more and more popular. What can pupil size tell us? How is it measured? What are potential problems when designing and running a pupillometry study? These issues are covered in part I

II. Oscillations

Auditory stimuli that occur regularly in time are known to cause neural and motor entrainment – i.e. the synchronization of neural and motor activity to the temporal regularities in the auditory signal. The second part of the workshop will show that also human pupils entrain to rhythmic stimuli. It will demonstrate how to measure pupillary entrainment and how it can be used to investigate rhythm perception in adults and infants.

Selected references


  • Beatty, J., & Lucero-Wagoner, B. (2000). The pupillary system. In J. T. Cacioppo, L. G. Tassinary, & G. G. Berntson (Eds.), Handbook of Psychophysiology (2nd ed., pp. 142–162). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  • Mathôt​, S., Fabius, J., van Heusden, E., & Van der Stigchel, S. (2017). Safe and sensible baseline correction of pupil-size data. PeerJ PrePrints, 5:e2725v1. doi:10.7287/peerj.preprints.2725v1
  • Nieuwenhuis, S., De Geus, E. J. C., & Aston-Jones, G. (2011). The anatomical and functional relationship between the P3 and autonomic components of the orienting response. Psychophysiology, 48(2), 162–175 doi:10.1111/j.1469-8986.2010.01057.x
  • Schmidtke, J. (2018). Pupillometry in linguistic research: An introduction and review for second language researchers. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 40(3), 529–549. doi:10.1017/S0272263117000195
  • Steinhauer, S. R. (2001). Pupillary responses, cognitive psychophysiology and psychopathology.
  • Winn, M. B., Wendt, D., Koelewijn, T., & Kuchinsky, S. E. (2018). Best practices and advice for using pupillometry to measure listening effort: An introduction for those who want to get started. Trends in Hearing, 22, 1–32. doi:10.1177/2331216518800869
  • van Rij, J., Hendriks, P., van Rijn, H., Baayen, R. H., & Wood, S. N. (2019). Analyzing the time course of pupillometric data. Trends in Hearing, 23, 1–22. doi:10.1177/2331216519832483

Infants & Children

  • Hepach, R., & Westermann, G. (2016). Pupillometry in infancy research. Journal of Cognition and Development, 17(3), 359–377. doi:10.1080/15248372.2015.1135801
  • Krüger, M., Bartels, W., & Krist, H. (2019). Illuminating the dark ages: Pupil dilation as a measure of expectancy violation across the life span. Child Development. doi:10.1111/cdev.13354
  • Tamási, K., McKean, C., Gafos, A., & Höhle, B. (2019). Children’s gradient sensitivity to phonological mismatch: Considering the dynamics of looking behavior and pupil dilation. Journal of Child Language, 46(1), 1–23. doi:10.1017/S0305000918000259
  • Wetzel, N., Buttelmann, D., Schieler, A., & Widmann, A. (2016). Infant and adult pupil dilation in response to unexpected sounds. Developmental Psychobiology, 58(3), 382–392 doi:10.1002/dev.21377