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How do the regions of the visual field contribute to object search in real-world scenes? Evidence from eye movements



How do the regions of the visual field contribute to object search in real-world scenes? Evidence from eye movements



Journal of Experimental Psychology. Human Perception and Performance 40(1): 342-360



An important factor constraining visual search performance is the inhomogeneity of the visual system. Engaging participants in a scene search task, the present study explored how the different regions of the visual field contribute to search. Gaze-contingent Blindspots and Spotlights were implemented to determine the absolute and relative importance of the different visual regions for object-in-scene search. Three Blindspot/Spotlight radii (1.6°, 2.9°, and 4.1°) were used to differentiate between foveal, parafoveal, and peripheral vision. When searching the scene with artificially impaired foveal or central vision (Blindspots), search performance was surprisingly unimpaired. Foveal vision was not necessary to attain normal search performance. When high-resolution scene information was withheld in both foveal and parafoveal vision (4.1° Blindspot), target localization was unimpaired but it took longer to verify the identity of the target. Artificially impairing extrafoveal scene analysis (Spotlights) affected attentional selection and visual processing; shrinking the Spotlight of high resolution led to longer search times, shorter saccades, and more and longer fixations. The 4.1° radius was identified as the crossover point of equal search times in Blindspot and Spotlight conditions. However, a gaze-data based decomposition of search times into behaviorally defined epochs revealed differences in particular subprocesses of search.

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Accession: 053591017

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 23937216

DOI: 10.1037/a0033854


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