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Gregory J. Zelinsky, Yifan Peng, Alexander C. Berg, Dimitris Samaras; Modeling guidance and recognition in categorical search: Bridging human and computer object detection. Journal of Vision 2013;13(3):30. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/13.3.30.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Search is commonly described as a repeating cycle of guidance to target-like objects, followed by the recognition of these objects as targets or distractors. Are these indeed separate processes using different visual features? We addressed this question by comparing observer behavior to that of support vector machine (SVM) models trained on guidance and recognition tasks. Observers searched for a categorically defined teddy bear target in four-object arrays. Target-absent trials consisted of random category distractors rated in their visual similarity to teddy bears. Guidance, quantified as first-fixated objects during search, was strongest for targets, followed by target-similar, medium-similarity, and target-dissimilar distractors. False positive errors to first-fixated distractors also decreased with increasing dissimilarity to the target category. To model guidance, nine teddy bear detectors, using features ranging in biological plausibility, were trained on unblurred bears then tested on blurred versions of the same objects appearing in each search display. Guidance estimates were based on target probabilities obtained from these detectors. To model recognition, nine bear/nonbear classifiers, trained and tested on unblurred objects, were used to classify the object that would be fixated first (based on the detector estimates) as a teddy bear or a distractor. Patterns of categorical guidance and recognition accuracy were modeled almost perfectly by an HMAX model in combination with a color histogram feature. We conclude that guidance and recognition in the context of search are not separate processes mediated by different features, and that what the literature knows as guidance is really recognition performed on blurred objects viewed in the visual periphery.
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