Conspicuity and Congruity in Change Detection
How does visual saliency determine the attention given to objects in a scene, and is the detection of change dependent upon the conspicuity of the changed object? Viewers’ eye movements were recorded during the inspection of pictures of natural scenes. Two versions of a scene were compared to determine whether or not they were the same. The two images were either available at the same time (Experiment 1), or consecutively (Experiment 2). When an object was changed, it either had high or low visual saliency and it either was congruent with the scene or it violated the gist in that it would not be expected to be seen in that context. Previous studies have indicated that incongruous objects sometimes attract early attention, but the inconsistency of this effect leads to the question of whether it is dependent upon conspicuity rather than congruity. Incongruous objects attract early eye fixations here, dismissing the explanation based on visual saliency.
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