Poster E8, Monday, March 26, 2:30-4:30 pm, Exhibit Hall C
Investigating the Dynamics of Social Attention with a Gaze-Contingent Display using Recurrence-Quantification Analysis
Aleya Flechsenhar1, Lara Roesler1, Matthias Gamer1; 1Department of Experimental Clinical Psychology, University of Wuerzburg
The tendency to attend to other human beings is described as social attention. Previous studies have shown a bias towards attending such social features during free-viewing of naturalistic scenes. Furthermore, social attention seems to be reflexive and able to defy top-down demands in form of explicit search tasks. However, the question remains whether social features are in fact also voluntarily selected. Therefore, we established a gaze-contingent viewing paradigm, in which the visual field is constrained and updated in response to the viewer’s eye movements. Hence, contextual information is masked and thereby limits bottom-up influence, allowing the examination of voluntary eye movement planning. In an eye-tracking experiment, 75 participants viewed 80 social and 80 non-social images that were randomly allocated to a free and a gaze-contingent viewing condition. Our results revealed comparable viewing patterns for both viewing conditions, namely a strong attention bias for social features. Physical saliency, as determined by the Graph-Based Visual Saliency algorithm, did not account for the selection of social elements. However, gaze-contingent viewing altered temporal and spatial dynamics of viewing behavior as compared to natural viewing. Interestingly, viewing dynamics differed significantly between social scenes and pictures that did not include human being. Recurrent fixations were more frequent and closer together in time, for the former as compared to the latter stimulus category in both viewing conditions. Taken together, this study implies a voluntary selection of social features and a general influence of social content on visual exploratory behavior, thus highlighting mechanisms of social attention.
Topic Area: ATTENTION: Other