Research Overview




We are interested in how quickly people are able to grasp the scene they are viewing when that scene is presented very quickly. Manipulating the scene properties, we are able to investigate which visual factors are important in determining a scene's gist. We use the Contextual Bias Paradigm (below) as a way of getting at whether a scene is "understood" without having to ask participants for the name of a scene or to verify the scene name.



By examining people's eye movements as they look around a scene, we can investigate what information is prioritized for further visual processing.

Of course, the information prioritized has a lot to do with what the task is, among other things. So by manipulating task, as well as other factors, we can have a better understanding of gaze control mechanisms, attention and their interaction with memory.


Scene Gist and Gaze Control

By combining our interest in the fast processing of scenes with our interest in gaze control, we are also investigating how the first glance at a scene influences later processing on it. We use the Flash Preview-Moving Winfow paradigm to examine these types of questions about the interaction between scene gist and eye movements.

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Extraction of Spatial Layout in Scene Perception

One important aspect of understanding a scene is understanding its spatial layout. We are interested in how our visual system represents the space of a scene. We use computer-generated images to get at questions of how different viewpoints of a scene are processed and integrated



In addition to studying visual processes in scenes, we are intersted in deciphering the type of information (in scenes potentially) that can influence the deployment of attention. Visual search tasks allow us to manipulate various factors outside of any scene biases that naturally influence processing while viewing pictures. Combining these approaches we can get a better understanding of visual processing in general.



Much of the research on eye movement control and its relation to on-going cognitive processes have been done in reading. Reading offers a very structured visual input that always has a very clear task (to comprehend the text). As a result, this research offers a number of insights into the architecture and different processes of the visual system.