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A pupil size response model to assess fear learning

Korn, CW; Staib, M; Tzovara, A; Castegnetti, G; Bach, DR; (2016) A pupil size response model to assess fear learning. Psychophysiology , 54 (3) pp. 330-343. 10.1111/psyp.12801. Green open access

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Abstract

During fear conditioning, pupil size responses dissociate between conditioned stimuli that are contingently paired (CS+) with an aversive unconditioned stimulus, and those that are unpaired (CS-). Current approaches to assess fear learning from pupil responses rely on ad hoc specifications. Here, we sought to develop a psychophysiological model (PsPM) in which pupil responses are characterized by response functions within the framework of a linear time-invariant system. This PsPM can be written as a general linear model, which is inverted to yield amplitude estimates of the eliciting process in the central nervous system. We first characterized fear-conditioned pupil size responses based on an experiment with auditory CS. PsPM-based parameter estimates distinguished CS+/CS- better than, or on par with, two commonly used methods (peak scoring, area under the curve). We validated this PsPM in four independent experiments with auditory, visual, and somatosensory CS, as well as short (3.5 s) and medium (6 s) CS/US intervals. Overall, the new PsPM provided equal or decisively better differentiation of CS+/CS- than the two alternative methods and was never decisively worse. We further compared pupil responses with concurrently measured skin conductance and heart period responses. Finally, we used our previously developed luminance-related pupil responses to infer the timing of the likely neural input into the pupillary system. Overall, we establish a new PsPM to assess fear conditioning based on pupil responses. The model has a potential to provide higher statistical sensitivity, can be applied to other conditioning paradigms in humans, and may be easily extended to nonhuman mammals.

Type: Article
Title: A pupil size response model to assess fear learning
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/psyp.12801
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/psyp.12801
Language: English
Additional information: © 2016 The Authors. Psychophysiology published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Society for Psychophysiological Research. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Auditory, General linear model, Response functions, Somatosensory, Visual
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1533061
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