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Jeffrey Mulligan; Discovery of activities via statistical clustering of fixation patterns. Journal of Vision 2018;18(10):243. doi: 10.1167/18.10.243.
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Human behavior often consists of a series of distinct activities, each characterized by a unique pattern of interaction with the visual environment. This is true even in a restricted domain, such as a piloting an aircraft, where activities with distinct visual signatures might be things like communicating, navigating, and monitoring. We propose a novel analysis method for gaze-tracking data, to perform blind discovery of these hypothetical activities. The method is in some respects similar to recurrence analysis, but here we compare not individual fixations, but groups of fixations aggregated over a fixed time interval. The duration of this interval is a parameter that we will refer to as delta. We assume that the environment has been divided into a set of N different areas-of-interest (AOIs). For a given interval of time of duration delta, we compute the proportion of time spent fixating each AOI, resulting in an N-dimensional vector. These proportions can be converted to integer counts by multiplying by delta divided by the average fixation duration (another parameter that we fix at 280 milliseconds). We compare different intervals by computing the chi-square statistic. The p-value associated with the statistic is the likelihood of observing the data under the hypothesis that the data in the two intervals were generated by a single process with a single set of probabilities governing the fixation of each AOI. The method has been applied to approximately 100 hours of eye movement data collected from pilots in a high-fidelity B747 flight simulator, and the results have been compared to synthetic data in which the each activity is represented as first-order Markov process with random probabilities assigned to the AOIs. Randomly-generated synthetic activities can require thousands of fixations to be discriminated with statistical significance, while the human data can be clustered using averaging windows of some 10's of seconds, suggesting that the actual activities are much more narrowly focused than random Markov models.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2018
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