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Human eyes with dilated pupils induce pupillary contagion in infants
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
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2017 (English)In: Scientific Reports, ISSN 2045-2322, E-ISSN 2045-2322, Vol. 7, no 1Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Being sensitive and responsive to others’ internal states is critical for social life. One reliable cue to what others might be feeling is pupil dilation because it is linked to increases in arousal. When adults view an individual with dilated pupils, their pupils dilate in response, suggesting not only sensitivity to pupil size, but a corresponding response as well. However, little is known about the origins or mechanism underlying this phenomenon of pupillary contagion. Here we show that 4- to 6-month-old infants show pupillary contagion when viewing photographs of eyes with varying pupil sizes: their pupils dilate in response to others’ large, but not small or medium pupils. The results suggest that pupillary contagion is likely driven by a transfer of arousal and that it is present very early in life in human infants, supporting the view that it could be an adaptation fundamental for social and emotional development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 7, no 1
National Category
Psychology
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-328764DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-08223-3OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-328764DiVA: diva2:1137382
Available from: 2017-08-31 Created: 2017-08-31 Last updated: 2017-08-31

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Publisher's full texthttps://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-08223-3

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Fawcett, ChristineFalck-Ytter, TerjeGredebäck, Gustaf
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