The role of eye movements in a contour detection task

Nathalie Van Humbeeck, Nadine Schmitt, Frouke Hermens, Johan Wagemans, Udo A Ernst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Vision combines local feature integration with active viewing processes, such as eye movements, to perceive complex visual scenes. However, it is still unclear how these processes interact and support each other. Here, we investigated how the dynamics of saccadic eye movements interact with contour integration, focusing on situations in which contours are difficult to find or even absent. We recorded observers' eye movements while they searched for a contour embedded in a background of randomly oriented elements. Task difficulty was manipulated by varying the contour's path angle. An association field model of contour integration was employed to predict potential saccade targets by identifying stimulus locations with high contour salience. We found that the number and duration of fixations increased with the increasing path angle of the contour. In addition, fixation duration increased over the course of a trial, and the time course of saccade amplitude depended on the percept of observers. Model fitting revealed that saccades fully compensate for the reduced saliency of peripheral contour targets. Importantly, our model predicted fixation locations to a considerable degree, indicating that observers fixated collinear elements. These results show that contour integration actively guides eye movements and determines their spatial and temporal parameters.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Vision
Volume13
Issue number14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Eye Movements

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Fixation, Ocular/physiology
  • Form Perception/physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Saccades/physiology
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult

Cite this

Van Humbeeck, N., Schmitt, N., Hermens, F., Wagemans, J., & Ernst, U. A. (2013). The role of eye movements in a contour detection task. Journal of Vision, 13(14). https://doi.org/10.1167/13.14.5
Van Humbeeck, Nathalie ; Schmitt, Nadine ; Hermens, Frouke ; Wagemans, Johan ; Ernst, Udo A. / The role of eye movements in a contour detection task. In: Journal of Vision. 2013 ; Vol. 13, No. 14.
@article{3e1c9aa664554c0eaee78040d5ce6ba1,
title = "The role of eye movements in a contour detection task",
abstract = "Vision combines local feature integration with active viewing processes, such as eye movements, to perceive complex visual scenes. However, it is still unclear how these processes interact and support each other. Here, we investigated how the dynamics of saccadic eye movements interact with contour integration, focusing on situations in which contours are difficult to find or even absent. We recorded observers' eye movements while they searched for a contour embedded in a background of randomly oriented elements. Task difficulty was manipulated by varying the contour's path angle. An association field model of contour integration was employed to predict potential saccade targets by identifying stimulus locations with high contour salience. We found that the number and duration of fixations increased with the increasing path angle of the contour. In addition, fixation duration increased over the course of a trial, and the time course of saccade amplitude depended on the percept of observers. Model fitting revealed that saccades fully compensate for the reduced saliency of peripheral contour targets. Importantly, our model predicted fixation locations to a considerable degree, indicating that observers fixated collinear elements. These results show that contour integration actively guides eye movements and determines their spatial and temporal parameters.",
keywords = "Adolescent, Adult, Female, Fixation, Ocular/physiology, Form Perception/physiology, Humans, Male, Saccades/physiology, Time Factors, Young Adult",
author = "{Van Humbeeck}, Nathalie and Nadine Schmitt and Frouke Hermens and Johan Wagemans and Ernst, {Udo A}",
year = "2013",
month = "12",
day = "4",
doi = "10.1167/13.14.5",
language = "English",
volume = "13",
journal = "Journal of Vision",
issn = "1534-7362",
publisher = "Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology Inc.",
number = "14",

}

Van Humbeeck, N, Schmitt, N, Hermens, F, Wagemans, J & Ernst, UA 2013, 'The role of eye movements in a contour detection task' Journal of Vision, vol. 13, no. 14. https://doi.org/10.1167/13.14.5

The role of eye movements in a contour detection task. / Van Humbeeck, Nathalie; Schmitt, Nadine; Hermens, Frouke; Wagemans, Johan; Ernst, Udo A.

In: Journal of Vision, Vol. 13, No. 14, 04.12.2013.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - The role of eye movements in a contour detection task

AU - Van Humbeeck, Nathalie

AU - Schmitt, Nadine

AU - Hermens, Frouke

AU - Wagemans, Johan

AU - Ernst, Udo A

PY - 2013/12/4

Y1 - 2013/12/4

N2 - Vision combines local feature integration with active viewing processes, such as eye movements, to perceive complex visual scenes. However, it is still unclear how these processes interact and support each other. Here, we investigated how the dynamics of saccadic eye movements interact with contour integration, focusing on situations in which contours are difficult to find or even absent. We recorded observers' eye movements while they searched for a contour embedded in a background of randomly oriented elements. Task difficulty was manipulated by varying the contour's path angle. An association field model of contour integration was employed to predict potential saccade targets by identifying stimulus locations with high contour salience. We found that the number and duration of fixations increased with the increasing path angle of the contour. In addition, fixation duration increased over the course of a trial, and the time course of saccade amplitude depended on the percept of observers. Model fitting revealed that saccades fully compensate for the reduced saliency of peripheral contour targets. Importantly, our model predicted fixation locations to a considerable degree, indicating that observers fixated collinear elements. These results show that contour integration actively guides eye movements and determines their spatial and temporal parameters.

AB - Vision combines local feature integration with active viewing processes, such as eye movements, to perceive complex visual scenes. However, it is still unclear how these processes interact and support each other. Here, we investigated how the dynamics of saccadic eye movements interact with contour integration, focusing on situations in which contours are difficult to find or even absent. We recorded observers' eye movements while they searched for a contour embedded in a background of randomly oriented elements. Task difficulty was manipulated by varying the contour's path angle. An association field model of contour integration was employed to predict potential saccade targets by identifying stimulus locations with high contour salience. We found that the number and duration of fixations increased with the increasing path angle of the contour. In addition, fixation duration increased over the course of a trial, and the time course of saccade amplitude depended on the percept of observers. Model fitting revealed that saccades fully compensate for the reduced saliency of peripheral contour targets. Importantly, our model predicted fixation locations to a considerable degree, indicating that observers fixated collinear elements. These results show that contour integration actively guides eye movements and determines their spatial and temporal parameters.

KW - Adolescent

KW - Adult

KW - Female

KW - Fixation, Ocular/physiology

KW - Form Perception/physiology

KW - Humans

KW - Male

KW - Saccades/physiology

KW - Time Factors

KW - Young Adult

U2 - 10.1167/13.14.5

DO - 10.1167/13.14.5

M3 - Article

VL - 13

JO - Journal of Vision

JF - Journal of Vision

SN - 1534-7362

IS - 14

ER -

Van Humbeeck N, Schmitt N, Hermens F, Wagemans J, Ernst UA. The role of eye movements in a contour detection task. Journal of Vision. 2013 Dec 4;13(14). https://doi.org/10.1167/13.14.5