Saturday, January 21, 2017

Paper accepted on the effects of social and symbolic cues on visual search

My paper on the effects of social (eyes, pointing hands) and symbolic (arrows) cues on visual search has been accepted for publication in Psihologija. Three experiments are described in which participants were asked to look for target objects in cluttered displays. To help participants find the targets, cues were presented next to the target (and pointing / looking at the target). The results showed that cues that had a clear outline (e.g., arrows, hands) helped finding the target, while cues that did not have a clear outline (e.g., gazing eyes) did not speed up finding the target, independent of whether the cue was biologically relevant (social or symbolic) or not. Cues that are easy to find themselves have the strongest effects on finding a search target. These results confirm earlier findings in an cue interference paradigm.

Dissertation studies now looking for volunteers

Most dissertation projects have now started data collection, so if you are willing to take part, please get in touch. The various studies involve reporting body satisfaction for your own body or other people's bodies (Shannon), guessing whether eyes belong to violent on non-violent offenders (Kate), guessing numbers, such as what percentage of people attend university in the UK (Matt), choosing which program to treat alcohol dependency works best (Harman), identifying perpetrators from line-ups (Joan), deciding on the basis of descriptions of people whether you would give them a job or drink tea with them (Laura), and deciding whether you see a female or a male person in a photograph, while ignoring words (Charmaine).

Work on social attention in real world search presented at the BOMG meeting in Cardiff

Last Wednesday Tim Hodgson and I attended the meeting of the British Oculomotor Group (BOMG) in Cardiff. All aspects of eye movements were discussed at the meeting, including brain imaging of regions involved in the planning and control of eye movements (Greenlee), the training of vergence eye movements (Kapoula), nystagmus (various talks) and reading scrolling text (Harvey). In my own talk, I presented recent work, supported by an EPS grant. In the study, we examined whether participants find objects placed in different rooms more quickly when cues (gazing eyes, a pointing hand, or an arrow) indicated the location of the object. This was indeed the case, but the effect of the cue did not depend on the type of cue.

Flora presents summer scientist work at AVA meeting

On Monday 19 December, my PhD student, Flora Ioannidou presented her first study in the context of her PhD at the AVA meeting at Queen Mary University of London. In her poster, she presented the results from a study conducted at the summer scientist event. Children were asked to sit at a computer and to search for a target object in screens full of objects. On some of the trials, cues were placed near the target object to examine whether such cues help children to find the target. The results showed that hand and arrow cues helped in finding the target, particularly in young children, but that eyes did not have such effects.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Study on safety sentiments in Lincoln completed

In a recently completed MSc (Forensic psychology) dissertation project, Freya has examined how safe students feel when seeing images, while using an eye tracker to examine where people look when making such judgements. The study showed that images of Egham (Royal Holloway University) were rated as safer than images of Lincoln, and that these higher safety ratings were related to ratings of maintenance. Images of night scenes were rated lower on safety. While participants rated images for safety, they inspected street-lights to a larger extent than while they judged images for maintenance. Female participants reported higher levels of unsafe feelings compared to male participants, both in their overall ratings, as well as in their ratings of the different images. The results suggest that the council can improve safety sentiments by aiming for higher levels of maintenance and by better street lighting.
Example of one of the images with regions of interest used to analyse the eye movements.

New dissertation projects underway

Several new undergraduate dissertation projects are now being developed. Plans are made to use mouse tracking while people guess whether pairs of eyes are from violent or non-violent offenders and to ask people to rate their body satisfaction. Volunteers will be needed soon, so if you are interested in taking part, please get in touch with the contact details on my staff page.

Paper published on the central bias in day-to-day viewing

Our paper on the central bias in day-to-day viewing is now available online, at this address. In the study, participants navigated around the building, made tea, or sorted cards while wearing a mobile eye tracker (Tobii 2 glasses). Analysis of the data showed that people tended to shift their gaze by moving their heads so that the recorded gaze position was held in the middle of the head-centred video image. Moreover, this bias towards the centre was not influenced by the task. We propose that, in the absence of dedicated mobile eye tracking software, spy-glasses can provide a feasible means of guessing where people look in day-to-day tasks, by assuming that they mostly gaze at the central region of the head-centred image.