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Tom Foulsham, Marcello Costantini; Fixations on real objects are affected by affordance and the ability to act. Journal of Vision 2017;17(10):917. doi: 10.1167/17.10.917.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
A range of recent studies have examined how fixations are allocated to pictures containing real world objects. Observers show both optimal and preferred viewing positions on such images, which may reveal how our attention is deployed in complex stimuli. However, there are far fewer studies investigating fixations during interactions with actual objects, despite classic and contemporary evidence that gaze in real-world tasks is largely driven by the demands of motor actions. In two experiments, we describe the distribution of fixations made when participants view real world, graspable objects such as tools. In Experiment 1, participants reached to pick up a series of such objects and gaze locations were mapped onto a standard reference image. The targets for gaze were affected by the orientation (and therefore the affordance) of the object and by the handedness of the observer, as well as by the timecourse of a reaching action. Participants' fixations were guided towards handles and grasp points for the upcoming movement. In Experiment 2, participants viewed real objects under controlled conditions and without performing an action. Visual attention to these objects was constrained by body posture, such that participants who were unable to act (because their hands were tied) showed different gaze patterns. Thus visual attention to the affording and functional parts of objects depends on the capability to act. These findings qualify recent results from picture viewing, and provide a bridge to studying complex everyday tasks.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2017
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