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Antje Nuthmann, Teresa Canas-Bajo; Visual search in naturalistic scenes from foveal to peripheral vision: A comparison between dynamic and static displays. Journal of Vision 2022;22(1):10. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.22.1.10.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
How important foveal, parafoveal, and peripheral vision are depends on the task. For object search and letter search in static images of real-world scenes, peripheral vision is crucial for efficient search guidance, whereas foveal vision is relatively unimportant. Extending this research, we used gaze-contingent Blindspots and Spotlights to investigate visual search in complex dynamic and static naturalistic scenes. In Experiment 1, we used dynamic scenes only, whereas in Experiments 2 and 3, we directly compared dynamic and static scenes. Each scene contained a static, contextually irrelevant target (i.e., a gray annulus). Scene motion was not predictive of target location. For dynamic scenes, the search-time results from all three experiments converge on the novel finding that neither foveal nor central vision was necessary to attain normal search proficiency. Since motion is known to attract attention and gaze, we explored whether guidance to the target was equally efficient in dynamic as compared to static scenes. We found that the very first saccade was guided by motion in the scene. This was not the case for subsequent saccades made during the scanning epoch, representing the actual search process. Thus, effects of task-irrelevant motion were fast-acting and short-lived. Furthermore, when motion was potentially present (Spotlights) or absent (Blindspots) in foveal or central vision only, we observed differences in verification times for dynamic and static scenes (Experiment 2). When using scenes with greater visual complexity and more motion (Experiment 3), however, the differences between dynamic and static scenes were much reduced.
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