Skip to page navigation menu Skip entire header
Brown University
Skip 13 subheader links

Eye gaze and pupillometry as indicators for value-based decision making


Everyday we make hundreds of decisions. Although our understanding of human decision-making has improved in recent years, we still have much to learn about the mechanisms behind this process. Eye gaze and pupil dilation (pupillometry) are two measurable physiological functions that shed light on how decisions form in the brain. In this research project, we monitor the changes in eye gaze and pupil dilation that arise when people must choose between a pair of complex visual stimuli. Ocular measurements have been performed by a number of research groups in an effort to unravel the mystery of human decision-making. It has been previously determined that increased eye gaze dwell time predicted an increased likelihood of picking that choice, regardless of the value of the option. Also, increased pupil dilation predicted an increase in decision time during difficult decisions. These findings suggest that eye tracking and pupillometry reflect the operations of dissociated latent decision processes. An unanswered question in this study is how losses (in addition to gains) contribute to these published results. We plan to examine this topic by altering Dr. Cavanagh's (Assistant Professor at the University of New Mexico) experiment to account for binary situations where there is no net reward value i.e. where one symbol is associated with an 80% probability of losing a point and the other symbol is associated with a 20% probability of winning no points. In this study we are determining whether eye gaze toward the negative values is correlated to a greater chance of choosing them.


Kulowski, Michelle, "Eye gaze and pupillometry as indicators for value-based decision making" (2015). Summer Research Symposium. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.



  • Summer Research Symposium

    Each year, Brown University showcases the research of its undergraduates at the Summer Research Symposium. More than half of the student-researchers are UTRA recipients, while others receive funding from a variety of Brown-administered and national programs and fellowships and go …