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Saliency predicts change detection in pictures of natural scenes

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image of Spatial Vision
For more content, see Multisensory Research and Seeing and Perceiving.

It has been proposed that the visual system encodes the salience of objects in the visual field in an explicit two-dimensional map that guides visual selective attention. Experiments were conducted to determine whether salience measurements applied to regions of pictures of outdoor scenes could predict the detection of changes in those regions. To obtain a quantitative measure of change detection, observers located changes in pairs of colour pictures presented across an inter-stimulus interval (ISI). Salience measurements were then obtained from different observers for image change regions using three independent methods, and all were positively correlated with change detection. Factor analysis extracted a single saliency factor that accounted for 62% of the variance contained in the four measures. Finally, estimates of the magnitude of the image change in each picture pair were obtained, using nine separate visual filters representing low-level vision features (luminance, colour, spatial frequency, orientation, edge density). None of the feature outputs was significantly associated with change detection or saliency. On the other hand it was shown that high-level (structural) properties of the changed region were related to saliency and to change detection: objects were more salient than shadows and more detectable when changed.


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