Voluntary Control Over Pupil Size

  • Published12 Aug 2013
  • Author John Kubie
  • Source BrainFacts/SfN

There is a fascinating report in the journal "Current Biology" that states that patients with "locked in syndrome" can communicate by controlling the size of their pupils. This raises a number of questions:

  • What is "locked in syndrome"? What can these patients do and not do?
  • What parts of the brain are necessary for consciousness and how are they affected by the locked in syndrome.
  • What are the mechanisms for brain control over the muscles that control pupil size and other muscles?
  • Is there conscious control over the Autonomic Nervous System?
  • Is there a relation to "biofeedback"? What is biofeedback?
  • What pathway from the cerebral hemispheres to the ANS could be responsible for conscious control of pupillary dilation?

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