Pupillary responses during information processing vary with Scholastic Aptitude Test scores

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Science  21 Sep 1979:
Vol. 205, Issue 4412, pp. 1289-1292
DOI: 10.1126/science.472746


The magnitude of task-evoked pupillary dilations during mental activity has previously been shown to index the cognitive capacity utilized in the performance of the mental task. To determine the relation between "intelligence" and capacity demands during mental activity, task-evoked pupillary dilations were measured while two groups of university students differing in their scores on the Scholastic Aptitude Test solved mental arithmetic problems. Over three levels of problems difficulty, more intelligent subjects showed smaller task-evoked pupillary dilations than did their less intelligent counterparts. Thus, the more intelligent appear to possess more efficient cognitive structures of information processing. These data provide evidence that physiological differences between individuals of differing psychometric intelligence emerge during mental activity.