Chiara Tortelli, Marco Turi, David Charles Burr, Paola Binda
Objective pupillometry shows that perceptual styles covary with autistic-like personality traits
We measured the modulation of pupil size (in constant lighting) elicited by observing transparent surfaces of black and white moving dots, perceived as a cylinder rotating about its vertical axis. The direction of rotation was swapped periodically by flipping stereo-depth of the two surfaces. Pupil size modulated in synchrony with the changes in front-surface color (dilating when black). The magnitude of pupillary modulation was larger for human participants with higher Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ), consistent with a local perceptual style, with attention focused on the front surface. The modulation with surface color, and its correlation with AQ, was equally strong when participants passively viewed the stimulus. No other indicator, including involuntary pursuit eye movements, covaried with AQ. These results reinforce our previous report with a similar bistable stimulus (Turi, Burr, & Binda, 2018), and go on to show that bistable illusory motion is not necessary for the effect, or its dependence on AQ.