The roles of scene gist and spatial dependency among objects in the semantic guidance of attention in real-world scenes

Chia Chien Wu*, Hsueh-Cheng Wang, Marc Pomplun

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

A previous study (Vision Research 51 (2011) 1192-1205) found evidence for semantic guidance of visual attention during the inspection of real-world scenes, i.e., an influence of semantic relationships among scene objects on overt shifts of attention. In particular, the results revealed an observer bias toward gaze transitions between semantically similar objects. However, this effect is not necessarily indicative of semantic processing of individual objects but may be mediated by knowledge of the scene gist, which does not require object recognition, or by known spatial dependency among objects. To examine the mechanisms underlying semantic guidance, in the present study, participants were asked to view a series of displays with the scene gist excluded and spatial dependency varied. Our results show that spatial dependency among objects seems to be sufficient to induce semantic guidance. Scene gist, on the other hand, does not seem to affect how observers use semantic information to guide attention while viewing natural scenes. Extracting semantic information mainly based on spatial dependency may be an efficient strategy of the visual system that only adds little cognitive load to the viewing task.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-20
Number of pages11
JournalVision Research
Volume105
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2014

Keywords

  • Attention
  • Eye movements
  • Real-world scenes
  • Semantics
  • Visual guidance

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