Center for Health Policy and Research (CHPR) Publications

Title

Preliminary investigation of visual attention to human figures in photographs: potential considerations for the design of aided AAC visual scene displays

UMMS Affiliation

Shriver Center; Center for Health Policy and Research; Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center

Date

12-2011

Document Type

Article

Medical Subject Headings

Adolescent; Attention; Cellular Phone; *Communication Aids for Disabled; Communication Disorders; *Equipment Design; Eye Movements; Female; Form Perception; Humans; Male; *Photography; Pilot Projects; Reaction Time; Young Adult

Disciplines

Communication Sciences and Disorders | Psychiatry and Psychology

Abstract

PURPOSE: Many individuals with complex communication needs may benefit from visual aided augmentative and alternative communication systems. In visual scene displays (VSDs), language concepts are embedded into a photograph of a naturalistic event. Humans play a central role in communication development and might be important elements in VSDs. However, many VSDs omit human figures. In this study, the authors sought to describe the distribution of visual attention to humans in naturalistic scenes as compared with other elements.

METHOD: Nineteen college students observed 8 photographs in which a human figure appeared near 1 or more items that might be expected to compete for visual attention (such as a Christmas tree or a table loaded with food). Eye-tracking technology allowed precise recording of participants' gaze. The fixation duration over a 7-s viewing period and latency to view elements in the photograph were measured.

RESULTS: Participants fixated on the human figures more rapidly and for longer than expected based on the size of these figures, regardless of the other elements in the scene.

CONCLUSIONS: Human figures attract attention in a photograph even when presented alongside other attractive distracters. Results suggest that humans may be a powerful means to attract visual attention to key elements in VSDs.

Rights and Permissions

Citation: Wilkinson KM, Light J. Preliminary investigation of visual attention to human figures in photographs: potential considerations for the design of aided AAC visual scene displays. J Speech Lang Hear Res. 2011 Dec;54(6):1644-57. doi: 10.1044/1092-4388(2011/10-0098). Epub 2011 Aug 23. PubMed PMID: 21862676; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3462357. Link to article on publisher's site

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed