Perception & Psychophysics

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 139–143

Percentage of pupillary dilation as a measure of item difficulty


  • Donald T. Payne
    • Educational Testing Service
  • Mary Ellen Parry
    • Educational Testing Service
  • Stefan J. Harasymiw
    • Educational Testing Service

DOI: 10.3758/BF03210453

Cite this article as:
Payne, D.T., Parry, M.E. & Harasymiw, S.J. Perception & Psychophysics (1968) 4: 139. doi:10.3758/BF03210453


The purpose of this study was to compare four measures of difficulty of mental multiplication items: percentage of pupillary dilation, latency of solution, number of correct responses, and judgment of item difficulty. Sixteen multiplication problems, classified into four levels of difficulty, were presented visually to 13 Ss, who verbalized their solutions to the problems. Analyses of variance and correlation coefficients were computed. It was concluded that all four measures of difficulty were useful but that judgment of difficulty and latency of solution were better measures of item difficulty than were the other two. A discussion of pupillary dilation and information processing is included.

Download to read the full article text

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Journals 1968