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Simen Hagen, Quoc Vuong, Lisa Scott, Tim Curran, James Tanaka; Exploring the gaze strategies of expert object recognition by the means of eye-tracking. . Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):1102. doi: 10.1167/16.12.1102.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
We know that object experts (e.g., bird watchers, car aficionados, dog judges) recognize objects of expertise at more specific levels of abstraction than do novices. However, the perceptual strategies that support expert recognition have not been extensively investigated. In the current study, we used eye-tracking to examine the gaze strategies associated with expert object recognition. Expert bird-watchers and novice participants discriminated birds at the species-level (e.g., Nashville warbler, Tennessee warbler) that were shown in full-view, with a gaze-contingent window, and with a gaze-contingent mask. The gaze-contingent window allowed central-view (and blocked peripheral-view) and should therefore interfere less with a local- than a holistic-recognition strategy. In contrast, the gaze-contingent mask blocked central-view (and allowed peripheral-view) and should therefore interfere more with a local- than a holistic-recognition strategy. Analysis of the performance showed that both experts and novices were affected by the gaze-contingent mask and gaze-contingent window manipulations, albeit in different ways. Novice performance was better in the window condition, in which only central-view information was available, than in the mask condition, in which only peripheral view information was available. In contrast, expert performance was better in the mask condition than in the window condition. Thus, the performance data suggest that experts encode information over a wider spatial extent than do novices. The second set of analysis, which examined the gaze-patterns corresponding to the full-view birds, show that the gaze profiles of experts are more systematic than the gaze profiles of the novices. Collectively, these data suggest that experts have knowledge about diagnostic regions of the bird and that they can quickly analyze these regions through a more holistic strategy.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016
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