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Árni Kristjansson, Ómar Jóhannesson, Andrey Chetverikov, Irene Smith, Ian Thornton; Visual foraging with fingers and with eyes reveals challenges for current theories of visual attention. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):1068. doi: 10.1167/15.12.1068.
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© 2017 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
A popular model of the function of visual attentional involves visual search where a single target is to be found among multiple distractors. A more realistic model may, however, arguably involve search for multiple targets of various types in the same search environment, since our goals at any one time may not necessarily be so narrow as to involve a single target. Here we present results from a novel paradigm involving foraging for different target types according to varying constraints. We test such foraging both with a finger-foraging paradigm where observers must tap a pre-designated number of items and an analogous eye-gaze foraging task where observers cancel the items by fixating on them for 100 ms. Supporting previous reports we find a dramatic difference between feature and conjunction foraging for a majority of observers. A notable subset of observers has little trouble switching between different target types during foraging, however, even in a difficult foraging task where observes must forage for two targets among distractors that are defined by conjunctions of features. There a significant correspondence between eye and finger foraging. The observers that have little trouble switching between different target types during finger-foraging, also tend to have little trouble switching during gaze-foraging. This finding establishes an important connection between eye-gaze and finger-tapping, most likely reflecting the close correspondence between eye and hand coordination and visual attention. Finally, the fact that some observers can switch between different target types with relative ease raises challenges for many current theoretical accounts of vision and attention.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015
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