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Daniel R. Saunders, David K. Williamson, Nikolaus F. Troje; Gaze patterns during perception of direction and gender from biological motion. Journal of Vision 2010;10(11):9. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/10.11.9.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Humans can perceive many properties of a creature in motion from the movement of the major joints alone. However it is likely that some regions of the body are more informative than others, dependent on the task. We recorded eye movements while participants performed two tasks with point-light walkers: determining the direction of walking, or determining the walker's gender. To vary task difficulty, walkers were displayed from different view angles and with different degrees of expressed gender. The effects on eye movement were evaluated by generating fixation maps, and by analyzing the number of fixations in regions of interest representing the shoulders, pelvis, and feet. In both tasks participants frequently fixated the pelvis region, but there were relatively more fixations at the shoulders in the gender task, and more fixations at the feet in the direction task. Increasing direction task difficulty increased the focus on the foot region. An individual's task performance could not be predicted by their distribution of fixations. However by showing where observers seek information, the study supports previous findings that the feet play an important part in the perception of walking direction, and that the shoulders and hips are particularly important for the perception of gender.
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