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Katherine Humphrey, Geoffrey Underwood; The potency of people in pictures: Evidence from sequences of eye fixations. Journal of Vision 2010;10(10):19. doi: 10.1167/10.10.19.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Does the presence of people in a natural scene affect the way that we inspect that picture? Previous research suggests that we have a natural tendency to look at the social information before other items in a scene. There is also evidence that accuracy of visual memory and the way we move our eyes are related. This experiment investigated whether eye movements differed when participants correctly and incorrectly identified stimuli at recognition, and how this is affected by the presence of people. Eye movements were recorded from 15 participants while they inspected photographs at encoding and during a recognition memory test. Half of the pictures contained people and half did not. The presence of people increased recognition accuracy and affected average fixation duration and average saccadic amplitude. Accuracy was not affected by the size of the Region of Interest (RoI), the number of people in the picture, or the distance of the person from the center. Analyses of the order and pattern of fixations showed a high similarity between encoding and recognition in all conditions, but the lack of relationship between string similarity and recognition accuracy challenges the idea that the reproduction of eye movements alone is enough to create a memory advantage.
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