The influence of a scene preview on eye movement behavior in natural scenes

Nicola C. Anderson*, Mieke Donk, Martijn Meeter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Rich contextual and semantic information can be extracted from only a brief presentation of a natural scene. This is presumed to be activated quickly enough to guide initial eye movements into a scene. However, early, short-latency eye movements in natural scenes have been shown to be dependent on the salience distribution across the image (Anderson, Ort, Kruijne, Meeter, & Donk, 2015). In the present work, we manipulated the salience distribution across a natural scene by changing the global contrast. We showed participants a brief real or nonsense preview of the scene and examined the time-course of eye movement guidance. A real preview decreased the latency and increased the amplitude of initial saccades into the image, suggesting that the preview allowed observers to obtain additional contextual information that would otherwise not be available. However, the preview did not completely override the initial tendency for short-latency saccades to be guided by the underlying salience distribution of the image. We discuss these findings in the context of oculomotor selection based on the integration of contextual information and low-level features in a natural scene.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1794-1801
Number of pages8
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


  • Attention
  • Contextual information
  • Eye movements
  • Natural scene viewing
  • Salience


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