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Alexander Goettker, Ioannis Agtzidis, Doris I. Braun, Michael Dorr, Karl R. Gegenfurtner; From Gaussian blobs to naturalistic videos: Comparison of oculomotor behavior across different stimulus complexities. Journal of Vision 2020;20(8):26. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.8.26.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Research on eye movements has primarily been performed in two distinct ways: (1) under highly controlled conditions using simple stimuli such as dots on a uniform background, or (2) under free-viewing conditions with complex images, real-world movies, or even with observers moving around in the world. Although both approaches offer important insights, the generalizability among eye movement behaviors observed under these different conditions is unclear. Here, we compared eye movement responses to video clips showing moving objects within their natural context with responses to simple Gaussian blobs on a blank screen. Importantly, for both conditions, the targets moved along the same trajectories at the same speed. We measured standard oculometric measures for both stimulus complexities, as well as the effect of the relative angle between saccades and pursuit, and compared them across conditions. In general, eye movement responses were qualitatively similar, especially with respect to pursuit gain. For both types of stimuli, the accuracy of saccades and subsequent pursuit was highest when both eye movements were collinear. We also found interesting differences; for example, latencies of initial saccades to moving Gaussian blob targets were significantly faster compared to saccades to moving objects in video scenes, whereas pursuit accuracy was significantly higher in video scenes. These findings suggest a lower processing demand for simple target conditions during saccade preparation and an advantage for tracking behavior in natural scenes due to higher predictability provided by the context information.
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