Psychology (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Ty W. Boyer


Research on perceptual disfluency has examined the effects of perceptually demanding stimuli on information processing and reasoning, suggesting that disfluent stimuli elicit slower and more effortful processing. Recent criticism of perceptual disfluency, however, suggests that the effects disfluent stimuli have on processing are marginal, and that they are mediated by individual differences. Participants completed a computerized reasoning task presented in either a fluent (i.e., easy-to-read font) or disfluent format (i.e., hard-to-read font) while pupil diameter was measured by an eye-tracker system. Pupillometry is an established reliable measure of mental activity that reflects differences in cognitive load. Results showed no performance differences between the two groups, as well as no difference in pupil dilation between the groups. Similar to the recent critiques of perceptual disfluency, these results call into question if perceptual disfluency is a valid prime of attentive and deeper processing as has been theorized.