August 2014
Volume 14, Issue 10
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2014
Visual features that repeat across cuts guide attention in movies
Author Affiliations
  • Christian Valuch
    Faculty of Psychology, University of Vienna, Austria
  • Peter König
    Institute of Cognitive Science, University of Osnabrück, Germany
  • Ulrich Ansorge
    Faculty of Psychology, University of Vienna, Austria
Journal of Vision August 2014, Vol.14, 375. doi:
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      Christian Valuch, Peter König, Ulrich Ansorge; Visual features that repeat across cuts guide attention in movies . Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):375. doi:

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Movies contain cuts, i.e. abrupt transitions from one image to the next. Research suggests that 'continuity editing' masks cuts. For instance, within-scene cuts (WSCs) have a higher visual similarity of pre-cut and post-cut images and are more difficult to spot than between-scene cuts (BSCs). Here, we tested whether visual attention plays a role in this effect: Is attention attracted by features that repeat across cuts? We deliberately inserted WSCs and BSCs in a set of 20 sports movies. A comparison of feature distributions verified higher similarity in WSCs than BSCs. Participants saw two different movies side by side on a single computer screen. In the first experiment a cue defined the target movie that participants had to attend to. When a cut occurred the movies were stopped for a filler task. Afterwards the movies continued either at the same positions, or switched positions. Saccades to the target movie were initiated significantly faster and saccades to the wrong movie were less frequent following WSCs as compared to BSCs. In the second experiment, participants fixated the screen center and only covertly attended to the target movie, without moving their eyes. Following each cut, we briefly flashed digits on both movies and participants manually reported the identity of the digit on the target movie. Again, performance was significantly better after WSCs than BSCs. In both experiments, we also found that repeating the position of the target movie strongly improved performance on top of the facilitative effect of visual feature repetition. We discuss our results with regard to intertrial priming of attention, usually studied with simpler and better controlled displays, but probably the process responsible for the continuity effect.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014


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