Using pupillometry to investigate predictive processes in infancy

Felicia Zhang, Lauren L. Emberson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Prediction, a prospective cognitive process, is increasingly believed to be crucial for adult cognition and learning. Despite decades of targeted research on prediction in adults, methodological limitations still exist for investigating prediction in infancy. In this article, we argue that pupillometry, or the measurement of pupil size, is an effective method to examine predictive processing in infants and will expand on existing methods (namely looking time and anticipatory eye movements). In particular, we argue that there are three specific features of pupillometry that make it particularly useful for augmenting the investigation of prediction in infancy. First, pupillometry has excellent temporal resolution that will facilitate the differentiation of prediction subcomponents. Second, pupillometry is highly continuous across the life span, allowing researchers to directly compare responses between infants and adults using an identical paradigm. Third, pupillometry can be used in conjunction with other behavioral measures, allowing for different yet complementary results. In addition, we review relevant adult and infant pupillometry studies that will facilitate infancy researchers to adopt this technique. Overall, pupillometry is particularly useful in investigating prediction in infancy and opens up several avenues for developmental research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)758-780
Number of pages23
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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