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Development and Psychopathology 21 (2009), 7–26

Copyright # 2009 Cambridge University Press
Printed in the United States of America

Pubertal changes in emotional information
processing: Pupillary, behavioral, and
subjective evidence during emotional
word identification

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

This study investigated pupillary and behavioral responses to an emotional word valence identification paradigm among
32 pre-/early pubertal and 34 mid-/late pubertal typically developing children and adolescents. Participants were asked to
identify the valence of positive, negative, and neutral words while pupil dilation was assessed using an eyetracker.
Mid-/late pubertal children showed greater peak pupillary reactivity to words presented during the emotional word
identification task than pre-/early pubertal children, regardless of word valence. Mid-/late pubertal children also showed
smaller sustained pupil dilation than pre-/early pubertal children after the word was no longer on screen. These findings
were replicated controlling for participants’ age. In addition, mid-/late pubertal children had faster reaction times to all
words, and rated themselves as more emotional during their laboratory visit compared to pre-/early pubertal children.
Greater recall of emotional words following the task was associated with mid-/late pubertal status, and greater recall
of emotional words was also associated with higher peak pupil dilation. These results provide physiological, behavioral,
and subjective evidence consistent with a model of puberty-specific changes in neurobehavioral systems underpinning
emotional reactivity.

This study examines puberty-related changes in opment may help us to understand a paradox
neurobehavioral systems underpinning emo- in adolescent health (Dahl, 2004; Steinberg
tional reactivity and regulation using pupillary et al., 2006). Although adolescence is one of
and behavioral measures of emotionally salient the healthiest periods of the life span with re-
information processing. Gaining a better under- spect to physical health, overall morbidity and
standing of normative changes in emotional mortality rates increase 200–300% (Ozer, Mac-
information processing across pubertal devel- donald, & Irwin, 2002; Resnick et al., 1997).
Accidents, suicide, homicide, depression, anx-
We are grateful to Joanna Prout for her assistance in this pro-
iety, alcohol and substance use, eating disor-
ject. We also thank the participants and their families. This ders, human immunodeficiency virus, sexually
research was supported by National Institute of Mental transmitted diseases, and unwanted pregnan-
Health (NIMH) R24 Research Network Grant MH67346 cies all increase sharply in this developmental
(R.E.D., PI) and Grant K01 MHO73077 (J.S.S., PI). period (Ozer et al., 2002; US Preventive Ser-
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Jenni-
fer S. Silk, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pitts-
vices Task Force, 1996). Furthermore, many
burgh School of Medicine, 3811 O’Hara Street, Pittsburgh, of the most costly, chronic, and impairing disor-
PA 15260; E-mail: ders of adulthood, including mood disorders,


8 J. S. Silk et al.

anxiety disorders, and drug and alcohol abuse, risk and reward, may be directly linked to
typically onset during adolescence (Alpert, pubertal maturation (Nelson, Leibenluft, Mc-
Maddocks, Rosenbaum, & Fava, 1994; Chung, Clure, & Pine, 2005; Steinberg, 2007; Steinberg
Martin, & Winters, 2006; Pine, Cohen, Gurley, et al., 2006). These areas undergo significant
Brook, & Ma, 1998). reorganization in early adolescence that appears
Many of these problems and disorders have to be triggered, at least in part, by the hormonal
been linked to the onset of puberty or early pu- changes of puberty (see Nelson et al., 2005;
bertal maturation, particularly in females (An- Patton & Viner, 2007). Emerging evidence
gold, Costello, & Worthman, 1998; Caspi, from animal and human studies suggests that,
Lynam, Moffitt, & Silva, 1993; Ge, Conger, presumably as a result of this reorganization,
& Elder, 1996; Graber, Lewinsohn, Seeley, & the brain systems that regulate rewards, social
Brooks-Gunn, 1997; Orr & Ingersoll, 1995). information, and emotions become more sensi-
This puberty-linked increase in adolescent tive and/or active during puberty (Chambers,
mental and behavioral health problems appears Taylor, & Potenza, 2003; Dahl, 2001; Nelson
to be related to difficulties with the control of et al., 2005; Spear, 2000; Steinberg, 2005,
emotions and behavior (Dahl, 2004). In fact, 2007). Consequently, pubertal adolescents
many health problems that increase during seem to seek experiences that create high-inten-
this period involve dysregulation of emotion sity feelings. For example, one study found that
(e.g., bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety dis- among adolescents of a similar age, those who
order) or risk taking and poor decision making were more advanced in puberty were more
in the face of emotional influence (e.g., unsafe likely to seek exciting experiences and show
sex, peer pressure to engage in substance abuse risk-taking behavior (Martin et al., 2002). In ad-
or drunk driving). Consistent with this model, dition, Quevedo, Benning, Gunnar, and Dahl
there is initial evidence that problems in emo- (see this issue, 2009) found that pubertal ado-
tion regulation during adolescence are linked lescents showed appetitive potentiation of the
to the development of depressive symptoms postauricular reflex, a marker of appetitive mo-
and problem behaviors (Silk, Steinberg, & tivation, whereas their same-age prepubertal
Morris, 2003), although the role of puberty in peers showed no modulation of this reflex.
this relationship is not well understood. Thus, Quevedo et al. also found that puberty was as-
gaining a better understanding of normative sociated with an increase in the magnitude of
puberty-specific changes in systems involved the eye-blink startle response during an affec-
in emotional reactivity and regulation is critical tive picture viewing paradigm regardless of the
to elucidating the nature of adolescent health valence of the picture, suggesting that puberty
problems and refining prevention and interven- may be associated with a general increase in
tion approaches. the reactivity of neural systems underlying the
startle response, possibly including the amyg-
dala and fear-related circuitry.
Development of Neurobehavioral Systems
Increased sensation seeking and/or affective
Subserving Emotional Information
intensity could interact with the social–con-
Processing During Adolescence
textual changes that accompany puberty to
Recent research in developmental neuroscience lead to a spiraling of both positive and negative
suggests that problems in emotion regulation emotions. The transition through adolescence
during adolescence may result from dyssyn- involves a period of flux and renegotiation
chronous development in neurobehavioral sys- (Cicchetti & Rogosch, 2002), including dra-
tems involved in both emotional reactivity and matic changes in the social environment, such
regulation (Dahl, 2004; Ernst, Pine, & Hardin, as the increasing importance of peer and ro-
2005; Steinberg, 2005; Steinberg et al., 2006). mantic relationships, changing family relation-
There is some evidence that change in regions ships, and entry into quasiadult roles such as
of the brain that subserve primarily socioemo- working and driving (Steinberg & Morris, 2000;
tional functions, such as responding to social Steinberg & Silk, 2002). Evidence suggests
stimuli, and the perception and evaluation of that changes in the parent–child relationship,

With pubertal onset occurring at Siegle. continues well beyond sponse to stimuli that require greater cognitive pubertal maturation. This has led to a metaphor for the histori- rectly linked to pubertal maturation (Steinberg. For example. The pupil becomes more dilated in re- tions occurs slowly. 2003. regions of the prefrontal a sample of typically developing children and cortex that underpin higher cognitive–executive adolescents. research suggests that the pupil Thus. Other changes are indirectly triggered by gines with an unskilled driver” (Dahl. & Thase. This dilemma may explain. such .. cesses in ways that require skills in emotion Despite this compelling model. 1982. adolescents may now find them. 2004. 2005).. including in. These decisions may reflect and attempts to balance a desire for immediate an imbalance in cognitive and emotional influ- gratification with an understanding of the im. and is relatively indepen. Carter. high rates of participation in dangerous and peers. research has carefully demonstrated incremental selves in emotionally challenging situations as increases in pupil dilation with conditions requir- much as a decade before having developed ing greater memory or cognitive effort. Brain regions that subserve cog. cal advancement of puberty as “starting the en- 1987). 2001) and utilize a different promise for understanding puberty-specific set of brain structures than adults to accomplish changes in affective systems. creating new challenges in the nitive control gradually “catch-up” (Ernst et al. Pupil dilation provides a peripheral index emotional responsivity. 2004).” In fact. 1995. There brain may not be fully prepared to handle these is a need to better understand normative changes challenges. and unprotected sex) despite understand- company these new experiences. social anxieties. other adults. 1999). Steinhauer. Lewis. it is believed that puberty directly af. may actually be di. Slo- igniting romantic interests. few empirical regulation. ences on decision making and behavior during portance of long-term goals and consequences. Perhaps as a result of this continued maturation. Siegle. functions show functional changes that continue well into late adolescence and even early adult- The Pupillometric Approach to Studying hood (Jernigan & Sowell.Puberty and pupillary reactivity 9 including increased frequency and intensity of the full capacity to regulate the associated emo- parent–adolescent conflict. For example. drug der. et al. whereas development of brain activation in response to a specific of systems mediating higher cognitive func. does provide a window into the activity of the fects neural systems involved in social and mind. & Thase. earlier ages (Herman-Giddens. we address this question by adulthood. man. especially those of the opposite gen. Reyna & Farley.. 2006. and are believed to be largely inde. use. soul. Beatty & Lucero Wagoner. 1997. Nelson (Beatty.. In over the course of adolescence and young the current study. integration of cognitive and emotional pro. tion.. Ramel. in part.. academic pressures. (e. with the scale temporarily tipped These changes can be both exhilarating and toward emotional influences until skills in cog- overwhelming. 2004). stimulus. 2006. vic. adolescents appear Pupillometry is a novel approach to studying to perform cognitive tasks less efficiently than emotional information processing that holds adults (Luna et al. 2006). the fact ance lead to changes in the way children and that adolescents often make poor decisions adolescents are treated by parents. Steinhauer. 2000.g. 2002). Worth. An ancient pro- certain attentional tasks in the context of emotion verb holds that the eye is “the window to the (Monk et al. 1998). A wide array of affective challenges ac. 2003). in emotional information processing across pu- nitive control functions mature more gradually bertal development (Steinberg et al. puberty because changes in physical appear. ing cognitively the risks involved (Cauffman creased self-consciousness. activities such as automobile accidents. studies have examined puberty-specific changes Some evidence suggests that the adolescent in affective systems in human populations.. 2000). 1987. adolescence. load or that have greater emotional intensity dent of pubertal timing (Dahl. pupillary reactivity to emotional stimuli among 2006). 1997. Emotional Information Processing Sowell & Jernigan. & Steinberg. examining whether pubertal differences exist in pendent of pubertal timing (Steinberg et al.

2003) studies. In cognitive and emotional processing. This finding has been replicated in emotion regulation (Szabadi & Bradshaw. 1986). and has ocular motor nuclei. which are implicated mal controls.10 J. 1974. lometry to examine emotional information pro- Pupillometry has long been used in cog. 1975).’s (2001. we are of changes in cognitive/affective load following only aware of one study that has used pupil- exposure to the stimulus. Inhibition a study using an emotion regulation paradigm. Carter. Stelmack & reported experiencing higher levels of negative Mandelzys. lower positive emotion. and sends efferent projections to the with major depressive disorder (MDD). sustained pupil dilation on a task requiring iden- tion receives afferent projections from the fron. structures such as the up to 30 s after their responses compared to nor- anterior cingulate cortex. Asarnow. Stimulation dilation is increased. Silk et al. In- amic pathway. pressed adults relative to normal controls. For lation of the midbrain reticular formation example. 2000). 2001. information (Siegle. Silk et al. Steinhauer. 2003) have shown that patterns of pupil such as the amygdala increases pupil dilation dilation to emotional stimuli are altered in de- (Koikegami & Yoshida. 1996. than purely cognitive information processing gest that pupil dilation provides a summative (Siegle et al. We also stimuli. Granholm. Sarkin. Concurrent pupillary/func. in both medicated and unmedicated adults 1996). Steinhauer. For example. up until a person recently shown renewed interest in utilizing reaches the limits of his or her mental capacity the pupillometric approach in emotional infor- (Granholm. 2003). S. Siegle and colleagues (Siegle. as does stimu. Siegle. children and adolescents (Gardner. & Matt. tion in response to a stimulus. We found that depressed the pupillary response to emotion refuted the children and adolescents exhibited a dimin- original theory put forward by Hess (1965) ished late pupil dilation response to negative that the pupil dilates in response to attractive emotional words relative to controls that was stimuli and constricts in response to aversive related to greater depressive severity. as remembering more digits. tification of the valence of emotional words for tal cortex. Kahneman & Beatty. and a lower . Carter. 2008). 2003). Partala and Surakka (2003) found that the pu- This response occurs because the pupil is in.. Pupil dilation also provides in. et al. It is correlated index of task-related cognitive/affective brain with self-reported rumination. cessing in children and adolescents. of the dilator muscle occurs through a hypothal. Carter. (2006) recently demonstrated that sympathetic innervation of the Edinger Whest. been conducted in this area. found that children with lower levels of late pu- lates to both positive and negative emotional pil dilation to negative words in the laboratory stimuli (Janisse & Peavler. Juris & Velden. & pled every 16 ms. been shown to be specific to emotional rather tional magnetic resonance (fMRI) studies sug. Thus. because pupil dilation can be sam. Emotion researchers have emotion. & Dykes. The pupil re. 2004. Philp. and thus appears activity (Siegle. mation processing paradigms. The midbrain reticular forma. Early studies of et al. formation about the time course of brain activa. The role veloping children’s pupil dilation to emotional of the pupil in emotional processing has also words on a valence identification task similar been recognized for a long time (Janisse.. Siegle. which receives extensive inputs regulate their affect. particularly. when participants are asked to intentionally phal nucleus. 1978. 2001. initial and sustained pupil from cortical and limbic regions. 1977). of the constrictor muscle occurs through para.. Although researchers have used pupil di- mains dilated as long as the processing demand lation as an index of cognitive processing in persists and. Stenger. depressed adults show increased and (Beatty. which also receives corticolim. Steinhauer.. gram. to reflect sustained elaboration on emotional & Carter. nitive science to understand cognitive processes (2007) examined depressed and typically de- (see Beatty & Lucero Wagoner. 1966). pils of normal adults dilated more to positive nervated by brain structures involved in both and negative sounds than to neutral sounds. instead demonstrating that the pupil di. stimulation of limbic regions et al. Konecky. bic inputs. Urry et al. although remarkably little research has Siegle et al. 1953). Steinhauer. provides a dynamic measure Radacy. to the task completed by depressed adults in 1973).

kin. Participants emotional words differed across pubertal devel. 2003. Participants (39 females) of current feelings of positive and negative . This discrepancy high.91.96–17.06–14. we hypothesized that mid-/late laboratory visit at the Child and Adolescent pubertal children would have a slower reaction Neurobehavioral Laboratory... in part. would show greater initial pupillary reactivity to American Psychiatric Association. and would rate themselves as more previously (Ladouceur et al. the CSI-4 or the ASI-4 (Gadow & dren. Finally. Carter. 1998a. I disorders. Gadow & Sprafkin. study included: (a) symptoms suggestive of an tional information. to address. and mid-/late pubertal typically developing chil. Thirty-four participants were in the sessment. et al. to emotional information.Puberty and pupillary reactivity 11 ratio of positive to negative emotion in their ranged in age from 8. eye problems or difficulties in vision not correc- velopmental trajectory of pupillary reactivity ted by the use of glasses or contact lenses. which showed increased pupil tory—4 (ASI-4. 2005. These findings were unique to sustained pre-/early pubertal group (ages ¼ 8. 1994) Axis emotional words than pre-/early pubertal chil.74). problems in emotion regulation in depressed M ¼ 15. The Positive and Negative Af- Participants fect Schedule for Children (PANAS-C. or engaging are presented in Table 1. respectively. SD ¼ 1. for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of we hypothesized that mid-/late pubertal children Mental Disorders—Fourth Edition (DSM-IV.83. Symptom Inventory—4 (CSI-4. processing. Gadow & Spraf- Steinhauer. participants’ psychiatric symptomatology word was no longer on-screen. (b) dilation to negative words in depressed subjects the existence of a major systemic medical illness. from community advertisements and normal tional stimuli among a new sample of pre-/early control samples in existing research projects. or (d) having lighted the need for normative data on the de. 1998b).1 to 17. 2007). emotional during the laboratory visit. and 32 were in the youth.08). Exclusion criteria for the in less regulation in response to negative emo. SD ¼ 2. M ¼ 10. Figure 1 displays the dis- ings suggested that depressed children might be tribution of age as a function of pubertal status avoiding negative emotional information. 2003) findings for de.0). Because of theo.2. (2007) find.43. Axis I psychiatric disorder based on the Child tern differed from Siegle et al.. Method Self-report measures Current affect. Siegle. It is important that this pat.75.. was assessed using a questionnaire that screens rized increases in sensitivity to affective stimuli. et al. 1998b) or the Adolescent Symptom Inven- pressed adults. Because this initial pupillary reactivity to emotional words study focused on a normative sample of chil- as well as sustained pupil dilation after the dren. during which time to label the emotional words than pre-/early event-related potential and pupil dilation assess- pubertal children because of emotional interfer. 1999) was used as a child-report measure dren and adolescents. with the parent or to examine whether sustained processing of guardian serving as the informant. Siegle. We examined formed consents. Silk et al. Overall. All participants were recruited This study investigates pupil dilation to emo. Procedure The university’s institutional review board ap- The Current Study proved the study.9 years (M ¼ 13. the Silk et al. We also conducted exploratory analyses Sprafkin. 1998a). ments were completed using methods described ence effects. et al. group and additional demographic characteristics blunting their emotional response. Carter. suggesting that the finding related to mid-/late pubertal group (ages ¼ 10. Steinhauer.’s (2001. To participate in the study. Laurent Participants were 66 typically developing chil. SD ¼ 3. everyday lives using ecological momentary as. completed an initial phone screen and one 2-hr opment.. which the present study was designed. (c) a history of serious head injury. children and their dren and adolescents in the seconds following parents were required to sign assents and in- presentation of emotional words. relative to controls.

**p . . The distribution of participants’ age as a function of the pubertal status group.12 J.32 Note: SES.64 50. Pubertal Development Scale (Peterson et] Table 1.40 88.66 SD 10.78** SD 2.12 Ethnicity (% White) 77.29 t (49) ¼ 212. Demographic characteristics of participants Pre-/Early Pubertal Mid-/Late Pubertal (n ¼ 32) (n ¼ 34) t /x 2 Sex (% female) 50.83 15.43 t (64) ¼ 29.74 PDSa M 1.52 0.35 SES (Hollingshead) M 52.91 3. Figure 1.00 67. 1988). [A color version of this figure can be viewed online at journals. .56 10. a See the revised PDS scoring criteria in the Method Section.cambridge.68** SD 0. socioeconomic status.20 x 2 (1) ¼ 1. PDS.97 t (63) ¼ 0. S.01. Silk et al.01 Age M 10.08 1.60 x 2 (1) ¼ 2..

& Biro. 1998a. Gargiulo. Pomeroy. were based on earlier studies in our laboratory demographic information from parent and that included Tanner staging by physical child. subtending a 458 visual angle. and mid-/late pubertal groups. arranged in a trian- 1998b). Crockett. The ASI-4 and were displayed in dark gray on a light gray com- CSI-4 both inquire about child behavior over puter screen. The game pad was modified to have cian diagnoses (Gadow & Sprafkin. family history of affective shown to correlate with Tanner stages on phys- disorders. completed by each child that has been shown 2001. equidistant from each possible response. data were collected using a table- et al. & Azizian. 1991) and with clini.. 1975). To ac- cent. item 6.8. Devin. mounted RK-726 eyetracker. questions that met these criteria required partic- Thirty emotions were rated on a 5-point scale. a self-report measure of pubertal status previously described and tested (Siegle et al. Carter. Pupil dilation was recorded using methods 1988). The excluded questions asked for sub- Positive Affect Scale and negative emotions jective measurements of height. Steinhauer. The pubertal completion as well as the assessment PANAS-C possesses high internal consistency of pubertal development in relation to peers. Woodward. times were recorded using a game pad capable sponding scales of the Child Behavior of reading reaction times with millisecond reso- Checklist (Achenbach.. Petersen.. Pupil size was re- Dorn. Dahl. ical exam (Brooks Gunn. the mapping of game pad but- Pubertal development. 1987). Richards. Stim- Psychiatric Association. to have good psychometric properties (Petersen In brief. The pupil dilation ASI-4 (Gadow & Sprafkin. Pubertal status was mea. and summed to form a Negative Affect Scale. only three working buttons. (PDS. 1998b). gender. et al. Warren. Shirtcliff. Squires. high. & head.Puberty and pupillary reactivity 13 affect at the beginning of the testing session. and good convergent and divergent validity A composite measure was created on a 4-point (Laurent et al. Stimuli (Gadow & Sprafkin. The corded at 60 Hz (every 16 ms) and passed . Hoornstra. To screen for found that the PDS was correlated with Tanner Axis I psychiatric disorders in this normative stages based on physical exam and was also a sample of children. 2003). Heiligen- stein. so that respondents’ fingers were nearly relate with DSM-IV diagnoses (Gadow. females only. Rosso. To score the PDS. and socioeconomic status (Hollings. This questionnaire included information exam and hormonal measures of puberty in regarding basic sociodemographic information conjunction with the PDS. The eyetracker cluded questions that indexed the three main consisted of a video camera and infrared light developmental axes of puberty: growth (item source that were pointed at a participant’s eye 1). 2006). tons to responses was counterbalanced across sured using the Pubertal Development Scale participants. and Pollack (2007) Psychiatric symptomatology. 2005). 1988). and gonadal (items and a device that tracked the location and size 4 and 5. ipants to rate puberty-related physiological with positive emotions summed to form a changes. count for differential response latencies to dif- ferent buttons. Parents of chil- dren 12 years of age and older completed the Pupil dilation assessment. A sociodemo. Participants sat approximately 17 categories related to DSM-IV (American 122 cm from the bottom of the stimulus. gle.. Reaction vergent and discriminant validity with corre. 1998a) and parents testing occurred in a moderately lit room in of children less than 12 completed the CSI-4 which the experimenter was present. parents completed a paper good predictor of basal hormones responsible and pencil psychiatric screening inventory for advancing pubertal development. The ASI-4 and CSI-4 demonstrate con. scale with a median score of 2. These decisions graphic questionnaire was used to obtain socio. about child symptomatology. weight. males only. adrenal (items 2 and 3). uli were lowercase letters approximately 1 cm gories. Recently. 1999). see of the pupil using these tools. The PDS has been such as age. 1994) diagnostic cate. lution. & Boxer. Siegle. we only in. A median split was used to place participants into pre-/early Demographic information. The CSI-4 has also been shown to cor.

baseline pupil size could . to produce the final pupil dilation index. This itive. & Kohnen. analysis. Children were given 1 min pil dilation at each second for each valence per and 30 s to recall as many of the words from subject. Car- ter. Each trial included Plan of analyses a 1-s fixation mask (a row of Xs that they were instructed to look at). valence. 2003. drift in pupil diameter not related to trial charac- ter than 0. MacLachlan & blinks throughout the data set. and a mask (another row of Xs) mixed effects models with an autoregressive for the 6-s intertrial interval.. 167 ms (10 samples) preceding the onset of Using the three-button game pad described the stimulus. 2005. Steinhuer.e. Kohnen. Taghavi.9 s were discarded as outliers (Matthews & the period 2–4 s following word presentation. Then. Baseline pupil diameter was sub- above. 1996).. negative. Trials comprised of over 50% blinks pupil continues to grow throughout childhood were removed from consideration. (AR1) covariance structure. cleaning. Yule. the presentation of the Pupil dilation analyses were conducted using word for 5 s.05-mm pupil diameter. Data were Howland. word valence (positive. digitally from the eyetracker to a computer that smoothed using a 10-point weighted average stored the acquired data along with signals filter. 1991). the end of fixa. For the purposes of this and time and valence as repeated measures. Baseline pu- pants were instructed to identify the emotional pil diameter was calculated separately for each valence of 66 words by pressing a correspond. lence category were selected and balanced for word length and frequency.e. Moradi. S. et al.e. and reduction. Twenty-two words from each va. participants pressed the button that cor. These proce. on previous studies (e. Pupil dilation was collected while ple (every 16 ms) and then averaged across participants completed a word VID. negative. A word recall as. teristics. or puberty group. linear trends in pupil dilation calcu- marking the beginning of trials. peaking somewhere between dures resulted in the elimination of M ¼ 16 the ages of 6 and 20 (Boev et al. tracted from pupil diameter after stimulus onset responded with their rating of the word as pos. Siegle. Because the traction. and adolescence. Linear interpolations replaced Zubcov. 2007).14 J. lamp) words used in the word VID task aged across seconds in a trial to create pupil were chosen from a corpus of emotional words dilation waveforms depicting the average time normed for use with children and adolescents course of pupil dilation across a 12-s trial by (Neshat-Doost. The positive (i... and neutral ters from baseline.. off-screen (9–12 s). Partici. index therefore represents a change in millime- birthday). we focused on Data selection. 2004. trial based on the average dilation over the ing button as quickly and accurately as possible. Blinks were iden. we calculated indices of number of Fixed effects included pubertal group. negative (i. sents initial reactivity and the late segment ring too rapidly to signify actual dilation or con. The final pupil dilation variable used in analyses was a measure of change in pupil Word valence identification (VID) task and diameter from baseline calculated for each sam- word recall. or neutral) gleish. stimulus onset time.. represents sustained processing. using pupil dilation sessment was administered following the as the dependent variable. The peak segment repre- tified as large changes in pupil dilation occur. Pupil dilation was then aver- (i. with subject treated as a random effect the task as possible. Silk et al. pupil dilation data to eliminate effects of slow The resolution for a typical participant was bet. Models included pu- word VID task. lated over blocks of trials were removed from tion. Based words recalled. Southall. 2002). emotional (positive or negative) and neutral waveform segment. and reaction time. Data were cleaned using our and (b) a “late” segment defined as the latter laboratory’s standard procedures (derived 3 s of the period during which the word was from Granholm et al. or neutral. divorce)..g. Trials two specific regions of interest in the pupil dila- with reaction times below 100 ms and above tion waveform: (a) a “peak” segment defined as 4. & Dal. Silk et al. and all interactions. samples for each second in a trial. trials per subject. 1999).

there were ing the task. no differences in reaction times by word va- nique was used to control type I error across these lence and no Pubertal GroupValence interac- tests. Group  Segment interaction.64.58.40. with mid-/late pubertal children show- significant differences in ratings of positive af.364. means for the valence effect revealed that pupil bertal groups. on behavioral and subjective measures.78 s cated a main effect on pupil dilation for word of consecutive tests were statistically significant valence.05. p . forms within the peak and late regions. Results F (1.82. we examined participants’ harmonic on differences in pupillary size across pubertal mean reaction times (time taken to classify development.05 mm).53) than pre-/early pubertal that pubertal groups differed in their peak pupil children (M ¼ 1. Guthrie and variance (ANOVA) indicated that there were Buchwald’s (1991) contiguity threshold tech. 489) ¼ 4. indicate (M ¼ 1.05. examined whether puberty groups differed on group contrasts on pupil dilation were exam- self-reported emotionality in the lab. p . p ¼ .05.40) on a global measure of emo- For this reason. F (1. SD ¼ 400.769. F (2. d ¼ .1 in the peak (2–4 s) region and when main effect for waveform segment. Using this for group differences in pupil dilation during technique. Autocorrelation is accounted for via Monte Carlo simulations of the maximum length of ad- Pupil dilation jacent significant tests present in less than 5% of simulated data with a similar autocorrelation We examined pupil dilation waveforms to test structure to acquired empirical data. SD ¼ 0. 922) ¼ 2. We found ined at each point along pupil dilation wave- that mid-/late pubertal children rated their cur.001. The GroupValenceSegment interaction did not reach statistical significance. regions of the waveforms were con. Mixed effects analyses indi- sidered significantly different when over 0. . There was no effect Table 1 shows demographic characteristics of of baseline pupil diameter on pupil dilation dur- the sample.40. although mid-/late pu.20).95 s of consecutive tests were statistically ¼ 59.1 in the late (9–12 s) region. p ¼ .50.Puberty and pupillary reactivity 15 introduce a confound.74. pubertal children. . and negative items on the PANAS-C. as having a larger pupil 0. race.05. 489) over 0.12. SD ¼ 1. . F (1. There were no dilation. no gender. (M ¼ 1. As shown in Table 1.15. 877) ¼ 3. p . SD ¼ 0. we also included a covariate tionality that included the average of all positive for baseline pupil diameter to account for po. A repeated-measures analysis of along pupil dilation waveforms. however. words) on the valence identification task to To follow up significant effects from the test whether puberty groups differed in overall mixed models.53. . F (1.44. .03. this difference PANAS-C ratings and reaction times was not significant using Guthrie and Buch- Table 2 presents comparison of puberty groups wald’s (1991) contiguity threshold criterion. regardless of word valence: bertal children were higher (M ¼ 2.86. or socioeconomic status differ. tions. Pairwise comparisons of estimated marginal ences between the pre-/early and mid-/late pu. We first To follow up the Group  Segment interaction.65) than pre-/early pubertal children cant. This technique defines the size of a tem. shown in Figure 2. tential differences in pupillary reactivity based Next. group and valence contrasts on reaction time or reaction time to words of a spe- pupil dilation were examined at each sample cific valence. 2. Results rent negative affect on the PANAS-C higher of these analyses. and a at p . controlling error across all tests at p . . ing greater peak pupil dilation than pre-/early fect on the PANAS-C.38). p .94. . point-by-point tests could be considered signifi.07 mm) than to positive words (M ¼ 0.93 s: t (64) ¼ 2.59. 394) ¼ 0. but mid-/late pubertal children responded poral window over which a series of contiguous more quickly to all words (M ¼ 1. SD ¼ 0. SD ¼ 274. the word VID task. dilation across the waveform was greater to neu- tral words (M ¼ 0.78 to 2. . that was qualified by a significant at p .36) than pre-/early pubertal children (M ¼ would allow for a greater range of reactivity.

84** 0.37 Reaction time Positive 2..31 Note: PANAS-C.01.77 1311.79 Negative 3.55 M 2.62 SD 2.27 M 1741.68** 0. This model included the same model.38 0.90 M 1805. F (1.22 M 2.44 294.74 SD 0.73 1385. . However. *p .53 Emotional 2.64 Emotional 2.94 SD 2.16 J.05. and fixed effects for age. autocorrelation among measurements. participant’s age. Positive and Negative Affect Schedule for Children (Laurent et al.92 SD 399. The Pubertal Group  Seg- p . 397) ¼ 9. 1999).36 Word recall Neutral 0. p ¼ . cause there was a significant main effect for tal status. with mid-/late pubertal children showing ploratory analyses including both age and pu- decreased late pupil dilation compared to berty. there were . . F (1.52** 1.82 SD 0. we recomputed cisely than puberty. and the analysis of this data in a F (2. . repeated effects for analysis. Because age is measured more pre.75.03 to 12.71 SD 380. per condition). **p . this is a conservative a random effect for subject. F (1. S. 489) ¼ 4. ment interaction remained significant control- We also conducted exploratory analyses to ling for age.52 M 1.65 SD 0.53 2. Table 2. it will typically wash out the mixed effects model using participants’ age the effects of puberty when it is included in rather than pubertal status. .10.73 0.49 Negative 2. Silk et al. p .19* 0.56 SD 539.70 M 5. p .90 0. Furthermore.06 2.98 3. waveform segment. the Age mixed effects model accounting for temporal Segment interaction was not significant.31 1395.01.40 0. we recomputed the mixed ef- pre-/early pubertal children in the final second fects model described above controlling for of the task: 11.05. . p . d ¼ 2. Pubertal groups also differed in late pupil dila. Be- examine specificity of these findings to puber.84** 1. sufficient degrees of freedom to conduct ex- tion.27 M 3.58 351.48 3. and all interactions. Pubertal differences in behavioral and subjective measures of emotional processing Pre-/Early Pubertal Mid-/Late Pubertal (n ¼ 32) (n ¼ 34) t Cohen d PANAS-C Positive 1.05. The effect for valence remained significant.37 2.74. age. .87 Neutral 4.00 s: t (64) ¼ 22. To do so. lence.11 M 1762. however.01.05.33 264. tion repeatedly over time (one measurement as well as a covariate for baseline pupil diame- per second for 12 measurements per participant ter.07* 0.72 7.73. the high number of degrees time and valence. va- of freedom provided by measuring pupil dila. thus.16 0. yielded 489) ¼ 2.24. 877) ¼ 4.50.58 1.

neutral words. These correlations reveal Word recall that current positive affect ratings on the To examine whether word recall on the free re. . Pubertal group differences in pupil dilation to all words. tween memory for neutral words and reaction SD ¼ 2. that youth higher in emotionality had faster re- SD ¼ 2. tionships between emotional words and reac- tor of pubertal status (B ¼ 2.06. with chil- but not number of neutral words recalled (B ¼ dren who responded faster remembering more 2. there were inverse rela- emotional words recalled emerged as a predic.37. the findings suggest called by mid-/late pubertal children (M ¼ 2. p ¼ . Table 3 shows intercorrelations among PANAS-C ratings.Puberty and pupillary reactivity 17 Figure 2. In addition. but ratings task was associated with pubertal status. We examined relations between behavioral and suggesting that the pupil dilation findings subjective measures using bivariate correla- were not driven by age.94.05. Number of recall task. p ¼ .64) and pre-/early pubertal children action times on the word VID task as well as (M ¼ 2.15) or between recall.37) less strong.72. .98. t ¼ . Follow-up t tests indicated emotional words.18). [A color version of this figure can be viewed online at journals. p ¼ .84. p .26. biased memory for emotional words. t ¼ 2.62. PANAS-C were not related to other indices of call test immediately following the word VID emotional information processing.01).02. tions. . and partici- pants’ word recall. with significant associations be- than pre-/early pubertal children (M ¼ 5. SD ¼ 3.37). reaction times. p . . SD ¼ 2.15. and reaction time late pupil dilation and age (r ¼ . Together. tion time on all conditions of the task. p ¼ .18.01). PANAS-C ratings.88).90. There were no times to positive words but not to negative or differences in the number of neutral words re. Relationships between reac- that mid-/late pubertal children remembered tion time and memory for neutral words were more emotional words (M ¼] not significant correlations between peak pupil Relations among pupil dilation and word dilation and age (r ¼ . Shaded regions are statistically significant at p . we of current negative affect and overall emotion- conducted a multinomial logistic regression to ality on the PANAS-C were associated with re- predict puberty group membership from recall membering more emotional words on the free of emotional and neutral words.cambridge.

S.01. Bivariate correlations between amining how the initial pupillary response was initial peak and late pupil dilation and related to behavioral and subjective measures of behavioral and subjective measures emotionality.05. This was Peak Late computed by calculating the highest pupil dila- tion value within the 2.14. Table 4.78** .07 2. WR neutral .35** 2. cant main effect for peak pupil dilation that ined correlations between pupil dilation and was not moderated by valence.31* 2. p .08 2. We also examined whether late (9–12 s) pu- gression in which reaction time was a repeated pil dilation to all words was associated with .25* 2. NA. 1999). We also conducted exploratory analyses ex. ns).17 Table 4 summarizes the correlations between Emotional . Pupil Dilation ipant’s average peak pupil dilation.00 Neutral 2. 64) ¼ ous explanatory variable.40** 9. PA. PANAS EMOT . 1999).32* . . overall peak pupil itial peak pupil dilation was associated with dilation was associated with greater recall of emo. RT.09 2.09 2.. Neutral 2. .06 2. greater in- words.06 7. Late.02 3. VID task regardless of word valence ciated with recall of neutral words (r ¼ 2. reaction time.17 2. maximum dilation from 2 to 4 4-s window for each PANAS-C trial and averaging this peak value across trials.02 dilation and current PANAS-C ratings.05. There was a significant peak Pupil Dilation  Valence interaction for recall measure and peak pupil dilation was a continu- for emotional versus neutral words.03 Word recall collapsed across word valence categories. as shown in Table 4. .28* .81** 10. Intercorrelations between behavioral and subjective measures of emotional processing PANAS WR RT PA NA EMOT Neutral EMOT Positive Negative Neutral 1. we conducted a repeated-measures re. and peak pupil dilation was a continuous explana. word recall. p . emotional. Reaction time jective measures. Positive and Negative Affect time.40** .13 . RT positive 2. .14 2.02 . All 2.06 tion by word valence. F (1. Schedule for Children (Laurent et al. F (1. PANAS NA . Positive .05 2. *p .25* .15 8. . we exam. (rallvalences ¼ 2. As shown in Table 4. negative affect.32. There was a signifi- 5. PANAS PA — 2. Negative . positive affect.05 .08 As puberty groups did not differ in pupil dila. faster reaction times on the emotional word tional words (r ¼ .01. but was not asso. Peak.35** 2.03 2. WR EMOT . Table 3.05). p . .00 Second. Silk et al. average dilation sion in which word recall was a repeated measure from 9 to 12 s.19 2.05.03 peak pupil dilation and the behavioral and sub. peak pupil dilation was Emotional .26* 2. we examined whether peak pupil dila- tion was associated with word recall and reaction Note: PANAS-C.80** .18 J. Positive and Negative Affect Schedule for Children (Laurent et al. As shown in Table 4.05).31.05. RT negative 2.03 there were no relationships between peak pupil Negative 2. Third. Positive 2. **p .02 . RT neutral 2.07 .07 2. p . EMOT. WR.38** . . As we needed a single peak value for use in correlations. We conducted a repeated-measures regres.78** — Note: PANAS..62** 6. First.22 2.08 . tory variable. 64) ¼ word recall separately for emotional and neutral 7.08. *p . To interpret this effect. we extracted each partic.

than pre. Initial pupil toward remembering more emotional words dilation was not associated with memory for than pre-/early pubertal children on an unex. Jung. sug- with greater reactivity of neurobehavioral sys. As shown in Table 4. Stein- alterations during pubertal maturation. Qin. such compared to children and adolescents who as reading and classifying the word. that these participants would have an easier tivity to words during an emotional word iden. changes in cognitive systems related to these itial pupillary response on the emotional word findings.. Steinberg. relative to pre. et al. it would be expected adolescents showed greater peak pupillary reac. Thus. mid-/late pubertal children and were generally older. and was not found using age ra. Spear. in which participants’ attention These results are generally consistent with was explicitly directed toward evaluating the models suggesting that puberty is associated emotional qualities of the words presented. 2005. we also word retrieval. we did not find that the increased in. Because pupil dilation pro- and affective processes involved in classifying vides a summative index of task-related cog- the emotionality of words appear to undergo nitive and affective brain activity (Siegle. time performing the cognitive aspects of the tification paradigm than pre-/early pubertal task. in conjunction with the emotional con- than pre-/early pubertal children. Our find- dilation was not associated with word recall or ing of increased puberty-linked pupillary reac- reaction time. Third. such as changes in reactivity to verbal . whose pupils initially dilated more in response ther than puberty as a predictor. with puberty during an affective pictures para- measures regressions indicated that late pupil digm irrespective of picture valence. themselves as higher in emotionality. resulting pected free recall task. VID task with puberty was moderated by formation processing.. This negative affect. 2006). Repeated. gest that the pubertal difference in peak pupil tems involved in emotional information pro. This peak pupil dila. Second. & Carter. This parallels Quevedo et al. we found that participants’ ticipants’ age. First.’s pupil dilation was not correlated with subjective (2008) finding of increased startle response ratings of emotionality in the lab. late word valence. Nelson et al. either alone or in interaction tivity on the emotional word identification with word valence. text of the task. task could have occurred through at least two mechanisms: (a) increased devotion of general cognitive processing resources in the pubertal Discussion group or (b) increased affective reactivity in In this study.. 2000. In addition. Steinberg et al. especially Anderson. neutral words. These hauer. during their laboratory visit finding. 2001.. mid-/late identification task remembered more emotional pubertal children and adolescents showed a bias words in the unexpected recall task. we cannot rule out the possibility and subjective ratings of emotion among that the increased pupillary reactivity is driven children in the mid or late stages of puberty primarily by more cognitive processes.and early pubertal participants. an important late-stage compo- found that mid-/late pubertal children rated nent of information processing models (e. protocol. less mental resources to cognitive aspects of tion was associated with greater memory for the task such as reading and classifying words emotional but not neutral words on an unex. dilation is at least partially driven by affective cessing (Dahl. we found evidence that cognitive the pubertal group.Puberty and pupillary reactivity 19 behavioral or subjective ratings of emotional in. 2007). suggesting that it may in smaller mental effort-related pupil dilation be linked to emotionally relevant processing. we would expect them to devote children and adolescents. processes. 2005.and early pubertal children. and because we cognitive–affective changes were apparent in did not include a purely cognitive task in our measures of psychophysiology.g. This suggests that initial pupil pected free recall task following the emotional dilation was related to emotional biases in word identification paradigm. This finding was replicated controlling for par. were prepubertal or in the beginning stages of given that pubertal children and adolescents puberty. 2003). However. suggesting that to the words presented in the emotional valence the effect is puberty specific. memory bias. Stenger. There may also be important maturational However.

also found that unmedicated depressed cents are faced with on a daily basis. 1998). ous can be arousing (Schwartz et al. In fact. that although adolescents are capable of arriv. These de. particularly Booth et al. rebral maturation occurring after puberty could The lack of valence moderation in the pre- lead to the automatization of reading routines. the word “pen. to valence) emotionally salient information. Silk et al.. we conducted debriefing interviews on though tasks that require the integration of cog. The valence identification task. drunk driving) as adults. along with increased practice and ex. partic- mation processing tasks. search has shown that the interpretation of neu- berty is linked with changes in processes that tral stimuli can vary depending on the valences are at the interface of cognitive and emotional of the other stimuli presented during the exper- processing. is may appear relatively neutral. cognitive–emotional integration. Our use of maturation of the neural systems involved in verbal stimuli is particularly relevant here.. This is theorized to occur because lescents compared to adults. sent study appears to be explained by the fact Specifically.g. However.” sus affective systems. the impact of puberty. although valence may be the adolescents’ biggest challenge. For ex- which requires youth to make cognitive deci. 2004) have proposed that ce. In fact. adults’ initial pupil dilation does not differ as cisions rarely require pure cognitive processing a function of word valence when attention is di- or pure emotional processing (they require an rected toward identifying emotional valence of integration of the two). they are some. Schwartz et al. specificity was observed in medicated de- For example. Consistent with this explanation. al- the extent of changes in reading-related neural though it was not replicated across a long activity beyond late childhood and the timing enough segment of the waveform to be consid- of such changes relative to puberty is still ered significant. to evaluate its emotionality an adolescent may quires participants to cognitively process (i. First. neutral words in an emotional context. begin to think about school and homework pay attention to and classify words according and attach a negative evaluation to this word. S. It re... and Bennett (2005) demonstrated that (2003) have shown increased amygdala activity such behavioral differences were related to dif. Carter. leads to specialization of a network of tional words.20 J. as well as affective ipants may have been more likely to view tasks with both verbal and nonverbal stimuli. For example.. Siegle cated in the decisions and dilemmas that adoles. to neutral words than to emotional words. in novel versus familiar faces. Future studies are the amygdala acts to detect and process un- needed that are designed to explicitly test the expected or unfamiliar information that might . et al. 1987). imental context (Russell & Fehr. words. et al. Al. and this integration words (Siegle et al. these types of tasks are It may be that there are few inherently neutral representative of the types of processes impli. ing the emotional aspects of each word. 2001). ing at the same judgments about risky decisions Second. Fugel. there was a trend for pupil left brain regions involved in reading including dilation across the waveform to be greater the angular or supramarginal gyrus.e. that children in our sample had a strong pupil- uration. There are at least two potential poorly understood (see Proverbio & Zani. ample. Future research is also needed to exam.” when viewed alone. what slower in their response. a small number of subjects and were struck by nitive and emotional functions need specific the idiosyncratic positive and negative qualities methodological designs to be able to tease apart several youth attached to seemingly neutral and draw firm conclusions about cognitive ver. words such as “pen” and “sheep” and “tree. but when asked an example of this type of integration. sang. sions about potentially emotional stimuli. stimuli that are novel and ambigu- (e. lary reaction to neutral words as well as to emo- posure. ticipants’ attention was directed toward evaluat- tion are found in more purely cognitive infor. because par- ine whether pubertal differences in pupil dila. expression. Reyna and Farley (2006) reported pressed adults (Siegle. they hypothesize that brain mat. Baird. explanations for this relatively strong pupillary 2005). 2003. reactivity to neutral words. Re- Even more likely is the possibility that pu. (2001. Whalen. 2003). all with a neutral ferences in the neural circuitry recruited in ado. stimuli or engagement in reading. Steinhauser.

facilitate the identification of puberty-specific ings do.. Reactivity to neutral to negative words was specific to the effects stimuli based on either ambiguity or overgener. Condray. have a tendency to see emotion even in were able to show that increased pupil dilation nonemotional stimuli. Pupil dilation results from exten. Pupil dilation decrease in late pupil dilation response to below has been associated with stimulation of the baseline levels in depressed children and ado- amygdala (Koikegami & Yoshida. such as emotion regulation. such as Tanner staging via physical a number of differences in the context in which examination. ever. pupillometric and neuroimaging data. a task that is much easier for the two are highly related. Using this approach. or. Youth may is now available in many fMRI environments thus be more sensitive to the ambiguity of neu. 2003b). One of the strengths of this study is that we dren. which included a small sample of 8.. There is a need for words that are obviously positive or negative future studies to be designed in ways that will than for ambiguous neutral words. sive inputs from both cortical and limbic re. such ability to detect puberty-specific effects. such as selecting youth matched on study. 2009). 2003. Mid-/late pubertal children of children is needed to resolve this issue. For example. Although ing the most precise measure of puberty that both studies used the same words. (2001) future research using concurrent collection of found that children had greater amygdala reac.Puberty and pupillary reactivity 21 have potential biological importance (Schwartz indicate increased limbic reactivity or increased et al. this sustained response was not related to mem- gions of the brain mediated via sympathetic ory for emotional words or reaction time. Disentangling pubertal and age effects is when children are asked to classify the valence an important but challenging task given that of neutral words. Obtain- or positive words (Silk et al. how- midbrain reticular formation (Beatty.. cognitive components (Urry et al. distance from computer screen. there were is possible.. 2006). This lar may have a tendency to show affective reac. especially among pubertal chil. however. will also enhance researchers’ the task was completed in the two studies. and adolescents showed decreased pupil dila- There are several potential brain mecha. 1953) as lescents relative to controls that is specific to well as stimulation of the frontal cortex and late puberty MDD study stayed in the laboratory overnight). 2007). We and parasympathetic pathways (Steinhauer. increased initial pupil dilation could ing children and adolescents is more subtle. & Pless. these words might elicit greater reactivity purely emotional reactions and other processes. dren and adolescents. . 2007). 1986). tral stimuli. tion to all words on average in the last second nisms that might underlie this increased initial of the trial compared to pre-/early pubertal chil- pupil dilation during the emotional word iden. have previously observed a more pronounced Siegle. well as children with MDD. as time of day. that also involve There is some evidence that youth in particu..e. lometry approach that could be addressed in cedures. this is- 17-year-old typically developing children as sue. 1998). negative words and is correlated with other in- terior cingulate cortex via connections from the dices of emotionality (Silk et al. Whalen. which tivity to neutral faces than adults. In this study. The use of words may be ambiguous in terms of their va. Thomas et age but differing on pubertal status (i. (see Siegle et al.. lack of specificity is a limitation to the pupil- tions to neutral stimuli during experimental pro. were smaller compared to children and adoles- Future research with larger samples of both cents who were prepubertal or in the initial typically developing and clinical populations stages of puberty. regardless of word va- tification task. Because neutral engagement of regulatory structures. lence. 2004). Unlike the peak pupil dilation response. we the researcher can attribute group differences to found that children’s initial pupil dilation was pubertal effects without having to include a sta- greater following negative words than neutral tistical covariate for age in the model. These find. We also found that sustained pupillary re- and length of overall study (participants in the sponses among children in mid. this difference among typically develop- Thus. pupil dilation alone cannot distinguish between lence. differ from our previous effects. Quevedo et al. of puberty above and beyond participants’ alization of emotion would likely be intensified age. of neural systems.

as these children are also older. Edgar. This study also has several notable strengths. Taghavi. and subjective mea- faster reactions may be reflecting an attentional sures of emotional information processing bias toward the emotional words. Joormann. & Daleiden. or might be demon. 2003) as well as our initial work with de- above.. psychophysiological measurement approaches. physical exam) that are more precise and clinical relevance.g. & Dalgleish. such as lu- gaging their attention from the task more than minosity. we also found and at risk for mood disorders (Gotlib. Carter. 2007). 2003). & Chang. pre-/early pubertal children and adolescents. S. Dalgleish. that mid-/late pubertal children and adolescents Montoya.. balanced for visual characteristics. also be less ecologically valid than affective strating improved skills in refocusing attention faces or pictures. The approach is a promising method for understand- small sample also limited our ability to examine ing emotional information processing in chil- gender by puberty interactions and to explore dren and adolescents.g. future research would benefit from ob. Neshat Doost. (Siegle et al. We also acknowledge with clinical samples of depressed adults that the median split used to create pubertal sta. Silk et al. however. Siegle. Vasey. 1987. Reliance on child report to available by self-report or even by many other assess puberty is another limitation. a domain often overlooked in developmental research. occurs over a shorter region of the waveform... pubertal differences in pupil dilation remained . Steinhauer. formation processing in studies youth with Contrary to our hypotheses. were easily tolerated by children. that can affect pupil dilation.. words are subject to develop- word is no longer on the screen. & speed among children further along in puberty. Silk et al. This is the first study of which we Strengths and limitations are aware to assess pupil dilation to emotional Several limitations of the present study should stimuli in typically developing children and be noted. Neshat- had faster reaction times to all words than Doost. mental differences in reading speed and may cents might be more bored. and have been useful in delineating develop- trol between adolescents and adults (e. The finding that the arbitrary.22 J. behavioral. However. Traill. 2005... Monk mental pattern of emotional processing (Perez et al. suggesting that physiological... there is evidence that the PDS correlates with Furthermore.and early pubertal children when the this advantage. These adoles. and tions from normative patterns of emotional in- further research is needed in this area. & Fox. faster reaction time was associated with remem. pupil dilation is measured using Tanner Stages on physical exam and hormonal noninvasive and affordable techniques that measures of puberty (Brooks-Gunn et al. Moradi. 2001. The present finding might indicate visually complex and thus can be more easily that children further along in puberty are disen. Nevertheless. limiting our adolescents. pressed children (Silk et al. El-Hag. have now been used successfully in several and early pubertal children. 1996). Although studies studies with child and adolescent samples. 2007) and anxious youth (Ta- This finding may be a function of faster reading ghavi. we relied on verbal affective stimuli. 1998. have investigated differences in attentional con. Moradi.and late and late emotional processing that is not pubertal children. Finally. which is particularly exciting thus can be included in analyses with age and because pupil dilation could eventually be mea- can be used to create groupings that are less sured in clinical settings. tus groups is relatively arbitrary. little is known about changes in at. Yule. in conjunction with pubertal assessment. 2003) as well as revealing altera- tentional control as a function of puberty. affective words away from emotional material relative to pre. The sample was small. 2003. As discussed et al. It utilized a multimethod approach including bering more emotional words. Findings suggest that this novel power to detect small to moderate effects. 2007) suggest that taining measures of pubertal development pupil dilation to emotional words may have (e. Research Shirtcliff et al. and is less clearly associated with emotional We chose to use words because they are less processes. poral precision regarding the pattern of early bertal children and between mid. It provides strong tem- differences between prepubertal and early pu. Despite pre. Yule.

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