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Behav Res Methods. 2015 Dec;47(4):1377-1392. doi: 10.3758/s13428-014-0550-3.

A comparison of scanpath comparison methods.

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Department of Cognitive Psychology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Van der Boechorststraat 1, 1081 BT, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Department of Computing Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.
Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


Interest has flourished in studying both the spatial and temporal aspects of eye movement behavior. This has sparked the development of a large number of new methods to compare scanpaths. In the present work, we present a detailed overview of common scanpath comparison measures. Each of these measures was developed to solve a specific problem, but quantifies different aspects of scanpath behavior and requires different data-processing techniques. To understand these differences, we applied each scanpath comparison method to data from an encoding and recognition experiment and compared their ability to reveal scanpath similarities within and between individuals looking at natural scenes. Results are discussed in terms of the unique aspects of scanpath behavior that the different methods quantify. We conclude by making recommendations for choosing an appropriate scanpath comparison measure.


Eye movements; Recurrence quantification analysis; Scanpath comparisons; Scanpath similarity; Temporal dynamics of eye movements

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