Date of Award

Spring 4-19-2023

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Psychological Science

Department Chair or Program Director

Dr. Miriam Liss

First Advisor

Dr. Marcus Leppanen

Second Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Mailloux

Third Advisor

Dr. Hilary Stebbins

Major or Concentration



This experiment was conducted to assess the relationship between pupil dilation and memory for prior remembering. Prior remembering is the judgment of whether a memory was previously remembered. Previous studies have suggested that pupil dilation can change in response to emotional stimuli as well as “old” versus “new” stimuli in recognition memory tests. The present experiment had participants view emotional and neutral context image-word pairs before they completed two separate cued-recall tests. Critically, some image-word pairs changed between tests. During the second cued-recall test, participants were also asked to make a judgment about whether they previously retrieved a given word on the first test. It was found that pupil dilation was significantly greater for incorrectly remembered words compared to correctly remembered words during the first cued-recall test. No other hypotheses were supported, and pupil dilation did not differ whether participants were correct or incorrect about their judgment of prior remembering. Differences between the analyses that were run and stimuli presented in comparison with previous studies could have led to the null findings. These results suggested that a relationship may not exist between pupil dilation and memory for prior remembering.