My opinion: I think this research may be applicable to more than at first glance. Perhaps if we can imagine certain situations, we can also physiologically affect other parts of our body besides the pupils. We might use our imagination more often than we realize. If we are exposed to a particularly bad scenario, we may imagine it becoming worse, thus sending us spiraling downhill. For example, say it is very cloudy outside. A person in the area, lacking light exposure, will experience a decrease in the size of his or her pupils. But if the lack of light is depressing, then he or she may imagine the weather as even worse, further decreasing the pupils' size. This in turn leads to less light absorption, pysiologically contributing to depression. Any other examples of this effect? Or am I just making incorrect guesses with this one? Feel free to comment.
Pupil size adjusts when we imagine light or dark settings
Saturday 7 December 2013 - 12am PST
It is common knowledge that our pupils adjust in size when exposed to light or dark enviornments. But new research published in the journal Psychological Science suggests that the size of our pupils also changes when we imagine these surroundings, even when our eyes are not directly exposed to light and dark.
Researchers from the University of Oslo in Norway say their findings may be useful in studying the mental experiences of patients who suffer from severe neurological disorders.
To reach their findings, the investigators monitored pupil diameters of study participants by using an infrared eye tracker throughout a series of experiments.
The first experiment required participants to look at a screen that showed triangles with various brightness levels. They were then asked to actively imagine the triangles.
Results of this experiment revealed that the subjects' pupils varied in size, depending on the brightness of the triangle they were imagining. When they imagined brighter triangles, their pupils were smaller but enlarged as they imagined darker triangles.
Experiments showed that pupil size adjusts when we actively imagine light or dark images or settings, suggesting that pupil size is linked to a subjective sense of brightness.