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David López Pérez, Alicja Radkowska, Joanna Rączaszek-Leonardi, Przemysław Tomalski, The TALBY Study Team; Beyond fixation durations: Recurrence quantification analysis reveals spatiotemporal dynamics of infant visual scanning. Journal of Vision 2018;18(13):5. doi: 10.1167/18.13.5.
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Standard looking-duration measures in eye-tracking data provide only general quantitative indices, while details of the spatiotemporal structuring of fixation sequences are lost. To overcome this, various tools have been developed to measure the dynamics of fixations. However, these analyses are only useful when stimuli have high perceptual similarity and they require the previous definition of areas of interest (AOIs). Although these methods have been widely applied in adult studies, relatively little is known about the temporal structuring of infant gaze-foraging behaviors such as variability of scanning over time or individual scanning patterns. Thus, to shed more light on the spatiotemporal characteristics of infant fixation sequences we apply for the first time a new methodology for nonlinear time-series analysis—the recurrence quantification analysis (RQA). We present how the dynamics of infant scanning varies depending on the scene content during a “pop-out” search task. Moreover, we show how the normalization of RQA measures with average fixation durations provides a more detailed account of the dynamics of fixation sequences. Finally, we link the RQA measures of temporal dynamics of scanning with the spatial information about the stimuli using heat maps of recurrences without the need for defining a priori AOIs and present how infants' foraging strategies are driven by the image content. We conclude from our findings that the RQA methodology has potential applications in the analysis of the temporal dynamics of infant visual foraging offering advantages over existing methods.
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