Synesthesia, eye-movements, and pupillometry

In Julia Simner & Edward Hubbard (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Synesthesia. Oxford University Press (2013)
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Abstract

The focus of this chapter is the relationship between synaesthesia, attention and eye movements. The measurement of eye movements as a core experimental tool for gaining insight into complex cognitive processes in general and attentional mechanisms more specifically, is now firmly established. By means of eye movements, the neural basis of higher cognitive processes, such as target selection, working memory, and response suppression, can be investigated. It therefore seems logical that eye movement recordings can also be used to investigate a complex phenomenon like synaesthesia. In this chapter, we will start with a section summarizing the relationship between eye movements and attention in general. Then the focus moves to synaesthesia and what we currently know about synaesthesia based on the method of measuring eye movements. Finally, we discuss pupillometry which provides a window on changes in the 'allocation' of attention and the 'consolidation' of perception. Consequently, it offers a useful technique for probing 'changes' in mental states due synaesthetic perceptions.

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