September 2015
Volume 15, Issue 12
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2015
The Role of Peripheral Position Uncertainty in Overt Search
Author Affiliations
  • Yelda Semizer
    Rutgers University
  • Melchi Michel
    Rutgers University
Journal of Vision September 2015, Vol.15, 100. doi:
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      Yelda Semizer, Melchi Michel; The Role of Peripheral Position Uncertainty in Overt Search. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):100.

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

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Uncertainty regarding the position of the search target is a fundamental component of visual search. This position uncertainty can be either extrinsic (EPU)—uncertainty regarding where a stimulus might appear, or intrinsic (IPU)—uncertainty regarding the distal source of the perceived stimulus. Previous measurements indicate that IPU increases approximately linearly with visual eccentricity and that it accounts for impaired detection and localization performance in the periphery (Michel & Geisler, 2011). Our aim in the current project was to characterize the role of IPU in overt visual search and to determine whether it is a limiting factor in search performance. Human observers completed two tasks. First, the observers completed a detection task to measure sensitivity to the target as a function of visual field position. Then, they completed a search task, which required localization of the target signal within a noisy environment. Observers were allowed to make a maximum of six fixations. To examine the effect of IPU, two different experimental conditions were created. In the ‘cluttered’ condition, the display was tiled uniformly with feature clutter (in the form of 1/f noise) to maximize the effect of IPU. In the ‘uncluttered’ condition, the clutter at irrelevant locations was removed to decrease the effect of IPU. The amount of EPU was also manipulated across conditions. We developed a constrained ideal searcher model, in which the searcher is limited by IPU measured for human observers. Introducing IPU to the ideal searcher impaired overall overt search performance, but not uniformly. In the ‘uncluttered’ condition, performance decreased steeply as a function of increasing EPU. However, in the ‘cluttered’ condition, the effect of IPU dominated and performance flattened as a function of EPU. Measured performance for human searchers showed similar trends. Our findings suggest IPU as a limiting factor in overt search performance.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015


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