Pupil diameter as implicit measure to estimate sense of embodiment

Sara Falcone, Liang Zhang, Saket Pradhan, Gwenn Englebienne, Anne-Marie Brouwer, Ioana Cocu, Ivo Stuldreher, Martijn Heuvel, Pieter de Vries, Kaj Gijsbertse, Dirk Heylen, Jan van Erp

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We explore pupil diameter (PD) as estimator of Sense of Embodiment (SoE) using data of three user studies. We hypothesize that pupil diameter reflects SoE in a direct and indirect way. If individuals feel strongly embodied, presenting an emotional stimulus like a threat to the surrogate will produce a strong response, as if the stimulus would be presented to their own body. This would lead to a positive correlation between SoE and pupil dilation during the presentation of emotional stimuli. Besides this direct effect, there may also be an indirect effect. It is postulated that higher degrees of embodiment reduce workload when controlling a surrogate. This indirect effect of embodiment through lower workload on the PD would result in a negative correlation between SoE and PD since lower workload results in smaller PD. These direct and indirect effects were partially confirmed by the results of three experiments. We observed that PD and SoE are positive and direct correlated in case of emotional stimuli subjected to the surrogate (e.g. a threat), and that PD tended to be smaller for participants who experienced a condition designed to provide high SoE compared to one designed to provide low SoE.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 44th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society
EditorsJ. Culbertson, A. Perfors, H. Rabagliati, V. Ramenzoni
PublisherThe Cognitive Science Society
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022
Event44th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, COGSCI 2022 - Toronto, Canada
Duration: 27 Jul 202230 Jul 2022
Conference number: 44

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society
PublisherThe Cognitive Science Society
ISSN (Print)1069-7977


Conference44th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, COGSCI 2022
Abbreviated titleCOGSCI 2022


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