Speaker: Josh Chin-An Wang
Date: 2019.09.27 (Fri.) 15:00-17:00 pm
Location: 12F Conference room, Daan Campus, Taipei Medical University
Pupil size is controlled by the balanced activity between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, and is becoming a popular and effective index for various cognitive and neural processes because of the advent of automated pupilometry. In addition to well-established illumination-dependent modulation, pupil size, as a component of orienting, changes rapidly in response to local salient events in the environment. Recent evidence has shown that pupil dilation is evoked by presentation of a visual target, enhanced by acoustic stimuli, modulated by stimulus saliency, and organized by the superior colliculus (SC), a midbrain sensorimotor center that is phylogenetically conserved and causally involved in producing orienting responses including eye movements and attention. Although the locus coeruleus-norepinephrine (LC-NE) system is commonly implicated as neural mechanisms for pupil-linked variations in brain state, underlying various cognitive and arousal modulation of pupil size. Because the SC is extensively connected to a large number of cortical and subcortical regions, the SC-pupil pathway is alternative, presumably faster, neural substrate through which cognitive signals from various cortical or subcortical regions can drive state changes across widespread brain networks. In summary, pupil size is a promising read-out of cortical and subcortical states because of its extensive connections to various brain structures via the SC and LC, and it has enormous potential for advancing research to understand the mind and brain.