Undergraduate Honors Posters
Current methods to measure infants’ cognitive repertoire (i.e., collection of cognitive abilities) are limited. Previous testing paradigms required acquisition of non-age contextualized responses, and relied on measures that involved acquisition of other functions (e.g., language, motor). In addition to response limitations, cognitive functions may be difficult to observe in infants due to the difficulty in infant recruitment. Online testing has increased infant recruitment efforts and physiological responses have bypassed the motor, behavioural and linguistic limitations of infants. Recently, it has been shown that heart rate measures can be acquired through a webcam. Another feasible and reliable physiological measure is pupillometery, the measure of pupil diameter, whereby an increase in pupil diameter corresponds to an increase in cognitive load in response to meaningful stimuli in our environment. Through successive pilot studies over an online interface (i.e., Mturk), we optimized the participants imaging environment. We show that acquisition of pupil diameter is possible over Mturk using our in-house methods. Moreover, we validated our measurement methods as a reliable tool for measuring cognitive load in adults, and as a future means of characterizing cognitive activation in infants. To our knowledge, we are the first to acquire pupil diameter measures through an online interface. The methodologies developed herein can be used as a valid means for acquiring physiological responses in future studies investigating cognition, attention, and memory thereby overcoming current limitations in both acquisition of responses and participant recruitment of infants.