Centre-of-Gravity Fixations in Visual Search: When Looking at Nothing Helps to Find Something

Venini D, Remington RW, Horstmann G, Becker SI (2014)
Journal of Ophthalmology.

Journal Article | Published | English

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Abstract
In visual search, some fixations are made between stimuli on empty regions, commonly referred to as "centre-of-gravity" fixations (henceforth: COG fixations). Previous studies have shown that observers with task expertise show more COG fixations than novices. This led to the view that COG fixations reflect simultaneous encoding of multiple stimuli, allowing more efficient processing of task-related items. The present study tested whether COG fixations also aid performance in visual search tasks with unfamiliar and abstract stimuli. Moreover, to provide evidence for the multiple-item processing view, we analysed the effects of COG fixations on the number and dwell times of stimulus fixations. The results showed that (1) search efficiency increased with increasing COG fixations even in search for unfamiliar stimuli and in the absence of special higher-order skills, (2) COG fixations reliably reduced the number of stimulus fixations and their dwell times, indicating processing of multiple distractors, and (3) the proportion of COG fixations was dynamically adapted to potential information gain of COG locations. A second experiment showed that COG fixations are diminished when stimulus positions unpredictably vary across trials. Together, the results support the multiple-item processing view, which has important implications for current theories of visual search.
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Venini D, Remington RW, Horstmann G, Becker SI. Centre-of-Gravity Fixations in Visual Search: When Looking at Nothing Helps to Find Something. Journal of Ophthalmology. 2014.
Venini, D., Remington, R. W., Horstmann, G., & Becker, S. I. (2014). Centre-of-Gravity Fixations in Visual Search: When Looking at Nothing Helps to Find Something. Journal of Ophthalmology.
Venini, D., Remington, R. W., Horstmann, G., and Becker, S. I. (2014). Centre-of-Gravity Fixations in Visual Search: When Looking at Nothing Helps to Find Something. Journal of Ophthalmology.
Venini, D., et al., 2014. Centre-of-Gravity Fixations in Visual Search: When Looking at Nothing Helps to Find Something. Journal of Ophthalmology.
D. Venini, et al., “Centre-of-Gravity Fixations in Visual Search: When Looking at Nothing Helps to Find Something”, Journal of Ophthalmology, 2014.
Venini, D., Remington, R.W., Horstmann, G., Becker, S.I.: Centre-of-Gravity Fixations in Visual Search: When Looking at Nothing Helps to Find Something. Journal of Ophthalmology. (2014).
Venini, Dustin, Remington, Roger W., Horstmann, Gernot, and Becker, Stefanie I. “Centre-of-Gravity Fixations in Visual Search: When Looking at Nothing Helps to Find Something”. Journal of Ophthalmology (2014).
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PMID: 25002972
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