Rajesh Rao, Gregory Zelinsky, Mary Hayhoe, Dana Ballard
Visual cognition depends criticalIy on the ability to make rapid eye movements known as saccades that orient the fovea over targets of interest in a visual scene. Saccades are known to be ballistic: the pattern of muscle activation for foveating a prespecified target location is computed prior to the movement and visual feedback is precluded. Despite these distinctive properties, there has been no general model of the saccadic targeting strategy employed by the human visual system during visual search in natural scenes. This paper proposes a model for saccadic targeting that uses iconic scene representations derived from oriented spatial filters at multiple scales. Visual search proceeds in a coarse-to-fine fashion with the largest scale filter responses being compared first. The model was empirically tested by comparing its perfonnance with actual eye movement data from human subjects in a natural visual search task; preliminary results indicate substantial agreement between eye movements predicted by the model and those recorded from human subjects.