A circuit for pupil orienting responses: Implications for cognitive modulation of pupil size

Chin An Wang, Douglas P. Munoz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

90 Citations (Scopus)


Pupil size, as a component of orienting, changes rapidly in response to local salient events in the environment, in addition to its well-known illumination-dependent modulation. Recent research has shown that visual, auditory, or audiovisual stimuli can elicit transient pupil dilation, and the timing and size of the evoked responses are systematically modulated by stimulus salience. Moreover, weak microstimulation of the superior colliculus (SC), a midbrain structure involved in eye movements and attention, evokes similar transient pupil dilation, suggesting that the SC coordinates the orienting response which includes transient pupil dilation. Projections from the SC to the pupil control circuitry provide a novel neural substrate underlying pupil modulation by various cognitive processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-140
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Neurobiology
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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