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Antje Nuthmann, George L. Malcolm; Eye guidance during real-world scene search: The role color plays in central and peripheral vision. Journal of Vision 2016;16(2):3. doi: 10.1167/16.2.3.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The visual system utilizes environmental features to direct gaze efficiently when locating objects. While previous research has isolated various features' contributions to gaze guidance, these studies generally used sparse displays and did not investigate how features facilitated search as a function of their location on the visual field. The current study investigated how features across the visual field—particularly color—facilitate gaze guidance during real-world search. A gaze-contingent window followed participants' eye movements, restricting color information to specified regions. Scene images were presented in full color, with color in the periphery and gray in central vision or gray in the periphery and color in central vision, or in grayscale. Color conditions were crossed with a search cue manipulation, with the target cued either with a word label or an exact picture. Search times increased as color information in the scene decreased. A gaze-data based decomposition of search time revealed color-mediated effects on specific subprocesses of search. Color in peripheral vision facilitated target localization, whereas color in central vision facilitated target verification. Picture cues facilitated search, with the effects of cue specificity and scene color combining additively. When available, the visual system utilizes the environment's color information to facilitate different real-world visual search behaviors based on the location within the visual field.
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