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James Tanner, Laurent Itti; A top-down saliency model with goal relevance. Journal of Vision 2019;19(1):11. doi: 10.1167/19.1.11.
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Most visual saliency models that integrate top-down factors process task and context information using machine learning techniques. Although these methods have been successful in improving prediction accuracy for human attention, they require significant training data and are unable to provide an understanding of what makes information relevant to a task such that it will attract gaze. This means that we still lack a general theory for the interaction between task and attention or eye movements. Recently, Tanner and Itti (2017) proposed the theory of goal relevance to explain what makes information relevant to goals. In this work, we record eye movements of 80 participants who each played one of four variants of a Mario video game and construct a combined saliency model using features from three sources: bottom-up, learned top-down, and goal relevance. We use this model to predict the eye behavior and find that the addition of goal relevance significantly improves the Normalized Scanpath Saliency score of the model from 4.35 to 5.82 (p < 1 × 10–100).
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