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Hans-Peter Frey, Christian Honey, Peter König; What's color got to do with it? The influence of color on visual attention in different categories. Journal of Vision 2008;8(14):6. doi: 10.1167/8.14.6.
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© 2017 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
Certain locations attract human gaze in natural visual scenes. Are there measurable features, which distinguish these locations from others? While there has been extensive research on luminance-defined features, only few studies have examined the influence of color on overt attention. In this study, we addressed this question by presenting color-calibrated stimuli and analyzing color features that are known to be relevant for the responses of LGN neurons. We recorded eye movements of 15 human subjects freely viewing colored and grayscale images of seven different categories. All images were also analyzed by the saliency map model (L. Itti, C. Koch, & E. Niebur, 1998). We find that human fixation locations differ between colored and grayscale versions of the same image much more than predicted by the saliency map. Examining the influence of various color features on overt attention, we find two extreme categories: while in rainforest images all color features are salient, none is salient in fractals. In all other categories, color features are selectively salient. This shows that the influence of color on overt attention depends on the type of image. Also, it is crucial to analyze neurophysiologically relevant color features for quantifying the influence of color on attention.
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