Professionally edited videos entail frequent editorial cuts – that is, abrupt image changes from one frame to another. The impact of these cuts on human eye movements is currently not well understood. In the present eye-tracking study, we experimentally gauged the degree to which color and visual continuity contributed to viewers’ eye movements following cinematic cuts. In our experiment, viewers were presented with two edited action sports movies on the same screen but they were instructed to watch and keep their gaze on only one of these movies. Crucially, the movies were frequently interrupted and continued after a short break either at the same or at switched locations. Hence, viewers needed to rapidly recognize the continuation of the relevant movie and re-orient their gaze toward it. Properties of saccadic eye movements following each interruption probed the recognition of the relevant movie after a cut. Two key findings were that (i) memory co-determines attention after cuts in edited videos, resulting in faster re-orientation toward scene continuations when visual continuity across the interruption is high than when it is low, and (ii) color contributes to the guidance of attention after cuts, but its benefit largely rests upon enhanced discrimination of relevant from irrelevant visual information rather than memory. Results are discussed with regard to previous research on eye movements in movies and recognition processes. Possible future directions of research are outlined.
Edited videos Continuity Color Attention Eye movements Memory
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The authors thank two anonymous reviewers for their excellent and helpful feedback on a previous version of this manuscript, as well as Blerim Zeqiri and Stefan Kandioller for assistance with data collection. This research was funded by a grant from the Wiener Wissenschafts-, Forschungs- und Technologiefonds (WWTF, Vienna Science and Technology Fund), no. CS 11–009 to Ulrich Ansorge, Shelley Buchinger, and Otmar Scherzer.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. All research protocols complied with the Declaration of Helsinki and APA ethical standards.
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