Cognitive Computation

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 25–36 | Cite as

Salience in Paintings: Bottom-Up Influences on Eye Fixations

  • Isabella Fuchs
  • Ulrich Ansorge
  • Christoph Redies
  • Helmut Leder


In the current study, we investigated whether visual salience attracts attention in a bottom-up manner. We presented abstract and depictive paintings as well as photographs to naïve participants in free-viewing (Experiment 1) and target-search (Experiment 2) tasks. Image salience was computed in terms of local feature contrasts in color, luminance, and orientation. Based on the theories of stimulus-driven salience effects on attention and fixations, we expected salience effects in all conditions and a characteristic short-lived temporal profile of the salience-driven effect on fixations. Our results confirmed the predictions. Results are discussed in terms of their potential implications.


Visual attention Salience Eye movements Art perception 



We would like to thank our Reviewers for valuable comments on an earlier version of this manuscript. Furthermore, we thank Elisa Tersteegen and Helmut Perrelli for their support in data collection, as well as Joachim Denzler and Michael Koch for kindly providing the programs for the Fourier power spectra analyses.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isabella Fuchs
    • 1
  • Ulrich Ansorge
    • 1
    • 2
  • Christoph Redies
    • 3
  • Helmut Leder
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ViennaViennaAustria
  2. 2.University of OsnabrückOsnabrückGermany
  3. 3.University of Jena School of MedicineJenaGermany

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