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Discovering the Cognitive Factors driving Pupil Dilation: A Model-Based Analysis of an Algebra Task

Jager, Marten de (2018) Discovering the Cognitive Factors driving Pupil Dilation: A Model-Based Analysis of an Algebra Task. Master's Thesis / Essay, Human-Machine Communication.


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Multiple studies have shown pupil dilation to be an indicator of mental effort. However, there is no clear notion of what this mental effort entails. In this thesis, we set out to provide more insight in which cognitive processes contribute to pupil dilation. For this purpose, we collected pupil dilation data in an algebra experiment with equations varying in difficulty. The pupil dilation increased as the equation got more difficult. A cognitive model of the algebra task was created using the cognitive architecture ACT-R. This cognitive model provides a prediction of which cognitive processes are required to perform the algebra task. Each cognitive process has its own specific activity during the task. This activity is then transformed into a pupil dilation prediction, using a convolution method. Linear models based on the predicted pupil dilation of the cognitive processes were fitted to the pupil data. The linear model that explained the pupil data the best, contained the cognitive processes representing long-term, short-term and procedural memory, vision and motor processes. The modules that contribute the most to the pupil dilation are declarative memory, procedural memory and the visual module.

Item Type: Thesis (Master's Thesis / Essay)
Supervisor name: Borst, J.P.
Degree programme: Human-Machine Communication
Thesis type: Master's Thesis / Essay
Language: English
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2018
Last Modified: 04 Dec 2018 14:55

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