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Dynamic pupillary exchange engages brain regions encoding social salience.

Harrison NA, Gray MA, Critchley HD - Soc Neurosci (2008)

Bottom Line: Discordance between observed and observer's pupillary changes enhanced activity within bilateral anterior insula, left amygdala and anterior cingulate.Our findings suggest pupillary signals are monitored continuously during social interactions and that incongruent changes activate brain regions involved in tracking motivational salience and attentionally meaningful information.Our data provide empirical evidence for an autonomically mediated extension of forward models of motor control into social interaction.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: University College London, London, UK. n.harrison@fil.ion.ucl.ac.uk

ABSTRACT
Covert exchange of autonomic responses may shape social affective behavior, as observed in mirroring of pupillary responses during sadness processing. We examined how, independent of facial emotional expression, dynamic coherence between one's own and another's pupil size modulates regional brain activity. Fourteen subjects viewed pairs of eye stimuli while undergoing fMRI. Using continuous pupillometry biofeedback, the size of the observed pupils was varied, correlating positively or negatively with changes in participants' own pupils. Viewing both static and dynamic stimuli activated right fusiform gyrus. Observing dynamically changing pupils activated STS and amygdala, regions engaged by non-static and salient facial features. Discordance between observed and observer's pupillary changes enhanced activity within bilateral anterior insula, left amygdala and anterior cingulate. In contrast, processing positively correlated pupils enhanced activity within left frontal operculum. Our findings suggest pupillary signals are monitored continuously during social interactions and that incongruent changes activate brain regions involved in tracking motivational salience and attentionally meaningful information. Naturalistically, dynamic coherence in pupillary change follows fluctuations in ambient light. Correspondingly, in social contexts discordant pupil response is likely to reflect divergence of dispositional state. Our data provide empirical evidence for an autonomically mediated extension of forward models of motor control into social interaction.

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(A) Example of male face stimulus illustrating mild pupillary dilatation (image 13 of 24). (B) Right fusiform face area activation in response to the main effect of viewing faces. Plotted at p = .005 for illustration, only clusters of 50 or more voxels shown.
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Figure 1: (A) Example of male face stimulus illustrating mild pupillary dilatation (image 13 of 24). (B) Right fusiform face area activation in response to the main effect of viewing faces. Plotted at p = .005 for illustration, only clusters of 50 or more voxels shown.

Mentions: The stimuli were high-definition digital photographs taken of neutral facial expressions of one man and one woman, who both had blue irises (accentuating pupil contrast). The images were cropped to reveal only the eye region (Figure 1a). Iris size was digitally manipulated using Adobe Photoshop® (Adobe Systems) to produce two pairs of images with maximally dilated (8.2 mm male, 8.0 mm female) and maximally constricted (pupil diameter = 2 mm) pupils. These values were selected to ensure pupil size remained within the physiological range. Morpher® (M.Fujimiya) was used to produce a total of 24 images with pupil sizes between these extremes.


Dynamic pupillary exchange engages brain regions encoding social salience.

Harrison NA, Gray MA, Critchley HD - Soc Neurosci (2008)

(A) Example of male face stimulus illustrating mild pupillary dilatation (image 13 of 24). (B) Right fusiform face area activation in response to the main effect of viewing faces. Plotted at p = .005 for illustration, only clusters of 50 or more voxels shown.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2913324&req=5

Figure 1: (A) Example of male face stimulus illustrating mild pupillary dilatation (image 13 of 24). (B) Right fusiform face area activation in response to the main effect of viewing faces. Plotted at p = .005 for illustration, only clusters of 50 or more voxels shown.
Mentions: The stimuli were high-definition digital photographs taken of neutral facial expressions of one man and one woman, who both had blue irises (accentuating pupil contrast). The images were cropped to reveal only the eye region (Figure 1a). Iris size was digitally manipulated using Adobe Photoshop® (Adobe Systems) to produce two pairs of images with maximally dilated (8.2 mm male, 8.0 mm female) and maximally constricted (pupil diameter = 2 mm) pupils. These values were selected to ensure pupil size remained within the physiological range. Morpher® (M.Fujimiya) was used to produce a total of 24 images with pupil sizes between these extremes.

Bottom Line: Discordance between observed and observer's pupillary changes enhanced activity within bilateral anterior insula, left amygdala and anterior cingulate.Our findings suggest pupillary signals are monitored continuously during social interactions and that incongruent changes activate brain regions involved in tracking motivational salience and attentionally meaningful information.Our data provide empirical evidence for an autonomically mediated extension of forward models of motor control into social interaction.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: University College London, London, UK. n.harrison@fil.ion.ucl.ac.uk

ABSTRACT
Covert exchange of autonomic responses may shape social affective behavior, as observed in mirroring of pupillary responses during sadness processing. We examined how, independent of facial emotional expression, dynamic coherence between one's own and another's pupil size modulates regional brain activity. Fourteen subjects viewed pairs of eye stimuli while undergoing fMRI. Using continuous pupillometry biofeedback, the size of the observed pupils was varied, correlating positively or negatively with changes in participants' own pupils. Viewing both static and dynamic stimuli activated right fusiform gyrus. Observing dynamically changing pupils activated STS and amygdala, regions engaged by non-static and salient facial features. Discordance between observed and observer's pupillary changes enhanced activity within bilateral anterior insula, left amygdala and anterior cingulate. In contrast, processing positively correlated pupils enhanced activity within left frontal operculum. Our findings suggest pupillary signals are monitored continuously during social interactions and that incongruent changes activate brain regions involved in tracking motivational salience and attentionally meaningful information. Naturalistically, dynamic coherence in pupillary change follows fluctuations in ambient light. Correspondingly, in social contexts discordant pupil response is likely to reflect divergence of dispositional state. Our data provide empirical evidence for an autonomically mediated extension of forward models of motor control into social interaction.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus