Complex Systems

Eye-Tracking Study Using Cellular Automaton Patterns as Visual Stimuli: Implications for Current Models of Stimulus-Driven Selection Processes Download PDF

Anirudh Tiwathia
Present address: Apt 412, The Manor, 333 E 43rd Street, New York, NY, 10017
Electronic mail address: anirudh.tiwathia@gmail.com
Cognitive Science Department,
Vassar College, 124 Raymond Avenue,
Poughkeepsie, New York, USA, 12604

Cristián Opazo-Castillo
Physics and Astronomy Department,
Vassar College, 124 Raymond Avenue,
Poughkeepsie, New York, USA, 12604

Abstract

This study examines goal-free viewing of cellular automaton (CA) images to address the nature of the bottom-up process, the robustness of salience as a framework for explaining fixation points, and the particular features that can characterize salience. The influence of familiarity on oculomotor strategy is also addressed. A qualitative study of the results show promising trends. Higher-level structural features such as pockets of regularity within randomness or localized structures within regularity were salient for most participants. These results raise interesting questions about the kinds of visual features that can be used to characterize salience. An unexpected result is that many fixations occur in blank regions within images featuring nested (fractal) structures. Many of these findings escape current psychophysical models of oculomotor strategy. Hence, future eye-tracking studies with CAs as stimuli could greatly improve our current understandings of the human visual system.