Pupil dilation, motor imagery and cognitive load
Empirical and analytical methods are used everyday by researchers to study and understand how the human brain gathers and processes information that is presented to it (Paas, Tuovinen, Tabbers, & Van Gerven, 2003); some of the techniques that provide additional insight on cognitive load measurement are mental load, effort, and performance. (Paas et al., 2003). Besides the physiological response to light exposure and emotions, pupil dilation has shown to be a reliable indicator of mental effort and resource allocator (S. Moresi, Adam, Rijcken, & Van Gerven, 2008). To our knowledge, no studies have been done addressing a relationship between pupil dilation and motor imagery. In the present study, pupillometry has been used as a mean to measure cognitive load during a set of five tasks that include reading, mental rotation and motor imagery. By using this method, we were able to assess that motor imagery, if fact, generates a level of cognitive load, and that the mental effort required to perform was comparable to the other cognitive tasks.