September 2018
Volume 18, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2018
Semantic and Functional Relationships Among Objects Bias Gaze Control
Author Affiliations
  • Andrew Clement
    University of Notre Dame
  • Ryan O'Donnell
    Pennsylvania State University
  • James Brockmole
    University of Notre Dame
Journal of Vision September 2018, Vol.18, 237. doi:10.1167/18.10.237
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      Andrew Clement, Ryan O'Donnell, James Brockmole; Semantic and Functional Relationships Among Objects Bias Gaze Control. Journal of Vision 2018;18(10):237. doi: 10.1167/18.10.237.

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

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Abstract

A variety of factors are known to influence the control of gaze during scene viewing. For example, the semantic relationship between objects and the overall scene context is known to influence the allocation of gaze. Here, we assessed whether semantic and functional relationships between individual objects could bias gaze independently of a broader scene context. Participants began by fixating a central object (e.g., a key) flanked by two peripheral objects. After a brief delay, participants were free to shift their gaze to one of these objects. One of the peripheral objects could be semantically related (e.g., a lock) or unrelated (e.g., a bowl) to the central object, and the central object could be oriented to depict a functional or non-functional interaction with this object (e.g., a key pointing toward or away from a lock). When a functional interaction was depicted, participants were more likely to shift their gaze toward the semantically related object. However, when the central object was oriented away from this object, participants were equally likely to shift their gaze toward either of the two peripheral objects. Thus, the orientation of the currently fixated object strongly biased gaze, and could compete with the semantically related object for the control of gaze. In a second experiment, the central and peripheral objects were switched so that the orientation of the peripheral objects was manipulated. In this case, participants were more likely to shift their gaze toward the semantically related object, regardless of whether a functional or non-functional interaction was depicted. Thus, the orientation of the to-be-fixated objects did not bias gaze as strongly as the orientation of the currently fixated object. Collectively, these findings reveal that semantic and functional relationships among objects independently influence gaze control, and can bias gaze even in the absence of a broader scene context.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2018

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