Poster B71, Sunday, March 25, 8:00-10:00 am, Exhibit Hall C
The Effect of Incentives on Pupil Dilation During Recognition Memory
Lisa Solinger1, Ian Dobbins1; 1Washington University in St. Louis
A robust finding in eye tracking studies of recognition memory is that correctly recognized studied (i.e., old) items yield greater pupillary dilation (PD) than do correctly identified unstudied (i.e., new) items. Termed the pupil old/new effect, it is generally thought to reflect the cognitive effort involved in retrieving content from memory. However, there is evidence suggesting that the PD response reflects the attentional salience of retrieval, and not retrieval processes per se (Mill, O’Connor, & Dobbins, 2016). To adjudicate between these two accounts, we crossed performance-based incentives with “new” and “old” conclusions—systematically controlling whether the detection of new or old items was more motivationally salient. During baseline, subjects demonstrated the classic pupil old/new effect. However, when “new” conclusions were incentivized the old/new effect was eliminated, and when “old” conclusions were incentivized the effect was amplified relative to baseline. Thus, the early amplitude PD response does not track memory strength or retrieval per se. Instead, it captures a recognition orienting component that can be modulated via incentives. In addition to this early pupillary component, there are sequential dependencies in the pupil dilation response. The findings support the attentional salience account of the pupil old/new effect and reveal additional distinct psychological contributors to the PD response during recognition memory.
Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Other