Eye movements selective for spatial frequency and orientation during active visual search

Tavassoli, Abtine and van der Linde, Ian and Bovik, Alan C. and Cormack, Lawrence K. (2009) Eye movements selective for spatial frequency and orientation during active visual search. Vision Research, 49 (2). pp. 173-181. ISSN 1878-5646

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.visres.2008.10.005


Visual search can simply be defined as the task of looking for objects of interest in cluttered visual environments. Typically, the human visual system succeeds at this by making a series of rapid eye movements called saccades, interleaved by discrete fixations. However, very little is known on how the brain programs saccades and selects fixation loci in such naturalistic tasks. In the current study, we use a technique developed in our laboratory based on reverse-correlation1 and stimuli that emulate the natural visual environment to examine observers’ strategies when seeking low-contrast targets of various spatial frequency and orientation characteristics. We present four major findings. First, we provide strong evidence of visual guidance in saccadic targeting characterized by saccadic selectivity for spatial frequencies and orientations close to that of the search target. Second, we show that observers exhibit inaccuracies and biases in their estimates of target features. Third, a complementarity effect is generally observed: the absence of certain frequency components in distracters affects whether they are fixated or mistakenly selected as the target. Finally, an unusual phenomenon is observed whereby distracters containing close-to-vertical structures are fixated in searches for nonvertically oriented targets. Our results provide evidence for the involvement of band-pass mechanisms along feature dimensions (spatial frequency and orientation) during visual search.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Visual search, Orientation tuning, Spatial frequency selectivity, Reverse-correlation, Classification images, Eye movements, 1/f noise
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Science & Technology (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Repository Admin
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2014 12:23
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 16:18
URI: https://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/312325

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