Introducing context-dependent and spatially-variant viewing biases in saccadic models

Olivier Le Meur 1        Antoine Coutrot2

1IRISA/univsersity of Rennes 1, France
2CoMPLEX, University College London, United Kingdom

Vision Research, Volume 121, 2016, Pages 72-84.

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Previous research showed the existence of systematic tendencies in viewing behavior during scene exploration. For instance, saccades are known to follow a positively skewed, long-tailed distribution, and to be more frequently initiated in the horizontal or vertical directions. In this study, we hypothesize that these viewing biases are not universal, but are modulated by the semantic visual category of the stimulus. We show that the joint distribution of saccade amplitudes and orientations significantly varies from one visual category to another. These joint distributions are in addition spatially variant within the scene frame. We demonstrate that a saliency model based on this better understanding of viewing behavioral biases and blind to any visual information outperforms well-established saliency models. We also propose a saccadic model that takes into account classical low-level features and spatially-variant and context-dependent viewing biases. This model outperforms state-of-the-art saliency models, and provides scanpaths in close agreement with human behavior. The better description of viewing biases will not only improve current models of visual attention but could also influence many other applications such as the design of human-computer interfaces, patient diagnosis or image/video processing applications.



Le Meur, O., and Coutrot, A. (2016). Introducing context-dependent and spatially-variant viewing biases in saccadic models. Vision Research, 121, 72-84, 2016.
  title={Introducing context-dependent and spatially-variant viewing biases in saccadic models},
  author={Le Meur, Olivier and Coutrot, Antoine},
  journal={Vision research},
Related work: Le Meur, O. and Liu Z. (2015). Saccadic model of eye movements for free-viewing condition, Vision Research, 2015.
  Title                    = {Saccadic model of eye movements for free-viewing condition},
  Author                   = {Le Meur, Olivier and Liu, Zhi},
  Journal                  = {Vision research},
  Year                     = {2015},
  Pages                    = {152-164},
  Volume                   = {116},
  Publisher                = {Elsevier}