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Pupillometry and hindsight bias: physiological arousal predicts compensatory behavior

Sleegers, Willem W.A., Proulx, Travis ORCID: and van Beest, Ilja 2021. Pupillometry and hindsight bias: physiological arousal predicts compensatory behavior. Social Psychological and Personality Science 12 (7) , pp. 1146-1154. 10.1177/1948550620966153

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According to violation–compensation models of cognitive conflict, experiences that violate expected associations evoke a common, biologically based syndrome of aversive arousal, which in turn motivates compensation efforts to relieve this arousal. However, while substantial research shows that people indeed respond with increased arousal to expectancy violating events, evidence for the motivating role of arousal is rarely found. In two within-subjects studies (N = 44 and N = 50), we demonstrate evidence for the motivating role of arousal in this violation–compensation process among university students. Using pupillometry and the hindsight bias phenomenon, we show that people respond with greater arousal when presented with expectancy violating information. In turn, we show that the pupillary response is positively related to the amount of hindsight bias being displayed. These findings provide further insights into the process underlying the hindsight bias and, crucially, support key predictions following from threat–compensation models.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (
Publisher: SAGE Publications (UK and US)
ISSN: 1948-5506
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 September 2020
Date of Acceptance: 13 September 2020
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2022 17:53

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