Jolien van Breen (University of Groningen) has won the NVP poster award 2014 for her research “The effect of observed pupil dilation on deception”.
About her research:
Following each other’s gaze and attending to pupil size allows humans to communicate information about the immediate environment. “Pupillary contagion” is the synchronization of pupil sizes with an interaction target. Interestingly, pupillary contagion has adaptive value, e.g., to promote shared understanding and coordination, because it emerges within, but not across species. This can be observed when humans synchronize their pupils specifically with other humans, but not with chimpanzees. Pupil synchronization is uniquely human, as it does not occur in our closest relative, the chimpanzee (P. troglodytes). In our studies on the effects of pupillary contagion on trust and deception, we demonstrated that pupillary contagion induced trust and reduced the likelihood of deception.