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Elan Barenholtz, Brad Nemire; Visual search in natural scenes: efficient allocation of fixations to horizontal support surfaces. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):522. doi: 10.1167/13.9.522.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Previous research has found that visual search through natural scenes is surprisingly efficient and can be guided by semantically-based expectations about where particular objects are likely to be. In the current study, we examined whether people efficiently allocate attention to horizontal support surfaces, where objects are likely to be present . Participants were presented with photographs of unfamiliar indoor scenes (e.g. bedrooms, kitchens, etc..) and had to report, as quickly as possible, the pointing direction of an arrow shape that that had been placed on a horizontal surface somewhere in the scene. We found that people efficiently directed their gaze to horizontal surfaces—while these surfaces made up less than 10% of the total area of the images, more than half of fixations fell within horizontal surfaces. These results were not well predicted by models of fixation that are based on bottom-up saliency; instead they suggest that people may have preattentive access to some types of surface orientation in natural scenes, which can serve to guide attentional fixation to the likely locations of objects.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013
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