But one interesting proposed explanation that came as news to me related to differences in intelligence.
Recent research suggests a person’s baseline pupil size may even be related to how intelligent they are. But of course, it’s hard to say just how smart Daniels might be based on a single glance into her dark eyes.
Did you, dear readers, know of such a correlation between pupil diameter and brain power? It came as news to me, but the cognitive psychology literature does indeed assert the existence of such a relationship.2
These researchers say that “baseline pupil size is, in fact, related to cognitive ability...This relationship could not be explained by differences in mental effort [and persisted after accounting] for potential confounding variables such as age, ethnicity and drug substances.”
According to these cognitive scientists, larger pupils are associated with greater “fluid intelligence,” the latter defined as the general ability to think abstractly, reason, identify patterns, solve problems, and discern relationships.
Size doesn’t matter (yet)
Is there practical import to this relationship? Should we begin selecting medical students, ophthalmology residents, and Ophthalmology Times editors on the basis of pupil size?
Before we can conclude that size matters, further research is indicated.
2. The relationship between baseline pupil size and intelligence. Cognitive Psychology. 2016;91:109-123.