December 2012
Volume 12, Issue 14
Free
OSA Fall Vision Meeting Abstract  |   December 2012
Reference Frames, Implied Motion, Animacy, and the Movement of Attention
Author Affiliations
  • James R. Brockmole
    Dept. of Psychology, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, USA
  • Deborah A. Cronin
    Dept. of Psychology, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, USA
Journal of Vision December 2012, Vol.12, 20. doi:10.1167/12.14.20
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      James R. Brockmole, Deborah A. Cronin; Reference Frames, Implied Motion, Animacy, and the Movement of Attention. Journal of Vision 2012;12(14):20. doi: 10.1167/12.14.20.

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Abstract

A variety of perceptual and conceptual aspects of a scene can influence one's eye movements and, hence, the manner in which they move their attention from place to place. In the present study, we examined how one's interpretation of various spatio-temporal properties of individual objects affects gaze. When we assess the location of an object, we assign a spatial reference frame defining the object's front, left, top, etc. We may additionally assess an object's ability to move and, if it were to do so, the likely cause and direction of motion. Such determinations enter into a variety of cognitive processes ranging from the allocation of covert spatial attention to the production of language. The present study examined how one's interpretation of an object's orientation and potential for motion affect the overt allocation of attention and gaze-control decisions. Observers viewed stationary objects including furniture (immobile), vehicles (potential for inanimate motion), and animals (potential for animate motion). Eye movements directed away from a fixated object were biased in the direction it faced. This effect was increased if an object implied a particular direction of motion. Animate motion did not increase this bias over inanimate motion. Thus, determining an object's spatial orientation and potential for movement affects shifts of overt attention. An influence of animacy, however, may be confined to covert or reflexive aspects of attention. This research indicates that the movement of attention can be, in part, controlled by the assessment of the spatio-temporal characteristics of individual objects within a scene.

Meeting abstract presented at OSA Fall Vision 2012

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