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State-of-the-art research into perceptual organisation

More advanced research is called for in perceptual organisation (PO), the ability to take in visual, auditory and sensory information and use it effectively to accomplish a task. An EU initiative sought to bridge this research gap.
State-of-the-art research into perceptual organisation
Greater insight into the link between PO and information acquired by eye movements (EM) is needed. This is because progress has been slow in understanding the representations and methods behind PO. With this in mind, the EU-funded POEM (Perceptual organisation and eye movements) project set out to examine the link between PO and EM.

To achieve its aims, the project studied PO and EM across three levels of processing: explicit, implicit and functional. The POEM team developed a saccade-based implicit measure for perceptual grouping based on goal-directed EM, revealing that explicit EM can affect the perceived perceptual grouping.

Specifically, findings showed that saccadic latencies are implicitly modified by the spatial location of a group with respect to the target. Two principles of grouping, namely proximity and good continuation, work well together but not separately. The horizontal and vertical direction of a grouping of dots can be affected by the direction of prior volitional EM.

Project partners also studied the EM of both expert and beginner photographers to reveal task-relevant visual features for various photo editing tasks. They found that the EM patterns of the two groups vary greatly for these tasks. In addition, to develop better software, the team compared human EM-based points of interest and those chosen by various advanced computer algorithms.

POEM successfully demonstrated that EM encode task-relevant information. This should go a long way in helping to shed light on how the brain transforms visual input on the retina into coherent objects.

Related information

Keywords

Perceptual organisation, eye movements, POEM
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