Linking Pupil Size Modulated by Global Luminance and Motor Preparation to Saccade Behavior

Chin An Wang, Kien Trong Nguyen, Chi Hung Juan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Saccades are rapid eye movements that are used to move the high acuity fovea in a serial manner in the exploration of the visual scene. Stimulus contrast is known to modulate saccade latency and metrics possibly via changing visual activity in the superior colliculus (SC), a midbrain structure causally involved in saccade generation. However, the quality of visual signals should also be modulated by the amount of lights projected onto the retina, which is gated by the size of the pupil. Although absolute pupil size should modulate visual signals and in turn affect saccade responses, research examining this relationship is very limited. Besides, pupil size is associated with motor preparation. However, the role of pupil dilation in saccade metrics remains unexplored. Through varying peripheral background luminance level and target visual contrast in the saccade task, we investigated the role of absolute pupil size and baseline-corrected pupil dilation in saccade latency and metrics. Higher target detection accuracy was obtained with lower background luminance level, and larger absolute pupil diameter correlated with smaller saccade amplitude and higher saccade peak velocities. More interestingly, the comparable modulation between pupil dilation and stimulus contrast was obtained, showing larger pupil dilation (or higher contrast stimuli) correlating with faster saccade latencies, larger amplitude, higher peak velocities, and smaller endpoint deviation. Together, our results demonstrated the influence of absolute pupil size induced by global luminance level and baseline-corrected pupil dilation associated with motor preparation on saccade latency and metrics, implicating the role of the SC in this behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-101
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • pupil light reflex
  • pupillometry
  • saccade latency and metrics
  • saccade preparation
  • stimulus contrast
  • superior colliculus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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