Send to

Choose Destination
Vision Res. 2009 Dec;49(24):2992-3000. doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2009.09.014. Epub 2009 Sep 24.

Saliency does not account for fixations to eyes within social scenes.

Author information

California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Pasadena, CA, USA.


We assessed the role of saliency in driving observers to fixate the eyes in social scenes. Saliency maps (Itti & Koch, 2000) were computed for the scenes from three previous studies. Saliency provided a poor account of the data. The saliency values for the first-fixated locations were extremely low and no greater than what would be expected by chance. In addition, the saliency values for the eye regions were low. Furthermore, whereas saliency was no better at predicting early saccades than late saccades, the average latency to fixate social areas of the scene (e.g., the eyes) was very fast (within 200 ms). Thus, visual saliency does not account for observers' bias to select the eyes within complex social scenes, nor does it account for fixation behavior in general. Instead, it appears that observers' fixations are driven largely by their default interest in social information.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center