High- and low-level factors in visual attention

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Title: High- and low-level factors in visual attention
Authors: Kaspar, Kai
Thesis advisor: Prof. Dr. Peter König
Thesis referee: Apl. Prof. Dr. Kai-Christoph Hamborg
Prof. Dr. Frank Ollermann
Abstract: The visual sense has outstanding importance for humans’ interaction with the environment and visual attention is the key mechanism that bundles our limited cognitive resources in order to enhance the perceptual processing of the most relevant environmental features at a certain point in time. Eye-Tracking technology enables us to accurately observe peoples’ eye movement behavior i.e. overt attention. In the last decade, overt attention on real-world scenes gained increasing popularity in vision research. The higher ecological validity of such scenes in combination with a free-viewing task allows us to investigate human viewing behavior under natural conditions. In this context, the majority of previous studies focused on the impact of basal image properties, such as color and luminance differences, to quantify the extent to which our fixation behavior is guided by these so-called low-level image properties. However, in most experimental studies complex images are observed only one time, whereas we are continually confronted with repeated visual impressions in everyday life. Therefore, I introduce a repeated-presentation-design that allows scrutinizing the impact of low-level image properties and the power of scene types over time. Besides these low-level factors, I also address inter-individual differences in motivation as well as emotional components as so-called high-level factors in overt attention. Previous research on visual attention has widely neglected these factors, especially in the context of real-world images. On the basis of novel study designs and by means of various analysis techniques, I show how several low- and high-level factors influence overt attention on complex scenes, how they interact, and how eye movement parameters are interrelated. In addition to that, I provide a comprehensive review of the previous literature on emotions’ and personality traits’ impacts on visual attention. On the basis of the inconsistent understanding of core concepts in the literature, I describe how behaviorally oriented studies investigate these high-level factors in visual attention, how the interplay between emotion and attention is conceptualized from a neuroscientific perspective, and I derive several conceptual and practical recommendations for future research. Finally, I outline some new ideas and venues for future research in the general discussion of the present work, for example how eye-tracking might overcome some fundamental problems of classical testing in psychological diagnostics, or how the view of embodied cognition can help us to get a better understanding of high- and low-level factors in visual attention.
URL: https://repositorium.ub.uni-osnabrueck.de/handle/urn:nbn:de:gbv:700-2013071710994
Subject Keywords: visual attention; overt attention; bottum-up; top-down; low-level factor; high-level factor; natural conditions; complex scenes; motivation; emotion; personality; repeated presentation; eye tracking; image properties
Issue Date: 17-Jul-2013
Type of publication: Dissertation oder Habilitation [doctoralThesis]
Appears in Collections:FB08 - E-Dissertationen

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