IMR Press / JIN / Volume 19 / Issue 4 / DOI: 10.31083/j.jin.2020.04.331
Open Access Commentary
Pupil tracks statistical regularities: behavioral and neural implications
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1 Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Mumbai, 400076, India

These authors contributed equally.

J. Integr. Neurosci. 2020, 19(4), 729–731;
Submitted: 14 October 2020 | Revised: 24 December 2020 | Accepted: 25 December 2020 | Published: 30 December 2020

Pupillary light reflex adjusts the amount of light reaching the retina. Recent work suggests that the brainstem pupillary light reflex pathway is controlled by the environment’s internal models derived from higher-order temporal statistics. This finding has implications at the behavioral and neural levels. Pupillary changes in response to statistical regularities could be a metric constituting the precision with which the internal models are represented. These pupillary changes may aid in information processing through attentional mechanisms. One possible region that mediates descending cognitive inputs to pupil cycling is locus coeruleus. Here we propose a unified framework of locus coeruleus’ role in modulating pupillary change, which successfully explains current and previous findings. The locus coeruleus could have multiple subsystems selectively (but not exclusively) driven by behavioral relevance and statistical learning to regulate pupillary change.

Statistical learning
pupil dilation
attentional mechanisms
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