Visual Attention and Search


In this line of work, we are primarly concerned with the vision-cognition interface. This is often equated with "attention," but that term is very loaded in psychology, with many different meanings in different communities.

Our work deals primarily with how the cognitive system and the visual system interact. How do people manage their visual attention in (moderately) complex visual settings, how do people learn what to look for (and what to ignore), and what kind of information really passes between vision and cognition? And, of course, how to model all this in an ACT-R context?

Obviously, this covers a great deal of ground. Specific domains we've worked in here include visual search for icons (technically, icon-filename pairs), attention allocation in aircraft cockpits, visual search of menus, and a few others.

One of our current puzzles is augmenting ACT-R's visual system with a mechanism for salience computation.

Recent Relevant Papers

Byrne, M. D., Kirlik, A., & Fleetwood, M. D. (in press). Closing the loop on computational cognitive modeling: Describing the dynamics of interactive decision making and attention allocation. In D. C. Foyle & B. L. Hooey (Eds.) Human performance modeling in aviation: Surface operations and synthetic vision systems. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Fleetwood, M. D., & Byrne, M. D. (2006). Modeling the visual search of displays: A revised ACT-R/PM model of icon search based on eye tracking data. To appear in Human-Computer Interaction, 21. [PDF]

Tamborello, F. P., & Byrne, M. D. (2006). Adaptive but non-optimal visual search behavior in highlighted displays. In D. Fum, F. Del Missier, & A. Stocco (Eds.), Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Cognitive Modeling (pp. 316-321). Trieste, Italy: Edizioni Goliardiche. [PDF]

Tamborello, F. P. (2006). Visual Displays: The Continuing Investigations of the Highlighting Paradox. Master's thesis, Rice University, Houston, TX. [PDF]

Foyle, D. C., Hooey, B. L., Byrne, M. D., Corker, K. M., Deutsch, S., Lebiere, C., Leiden, K., & Wickens, C. (2005). Human performance models of pilot behavior. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 49th Annual Meeting (pp. 1109-1113). Santa Monica, CA: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. [PDF]

Fleetwood, M. D. (2005). Refining Theoretical Models of Visual Sampling in Supervisory Control Tasks: Examining the Influence of Alarm Frequency, Effort, Value, and Salience. Doctoral disseration, Rice University, Houston, TX. [PDF]

Tamborello, F. P., II, & Byrne, M. D. (2005). Information search: The intersection of visual and semantic space. CHI 2005 Extended Abstracts, [ 1821-1824. PDF ]

Byrne, M. D., Kirlik, A., Fleetwood, M. D., Huss, D. G., Kosorukoff, A., Lin, R., & Fick, C. S. (2004). A closed-loop, ACT-R approach to modeling approach and landing with and without synthetic vision system (SVS) technology. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 48th Annual Meeting (pp. 2111-2115). Santa Monica, CA: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. [PDF]

Everett, S. P., & Byrne, M. D. (2004). Unintended effects: Varying icon spacing changes users' visual search strategy. Human Factors in Computing Systems: Proceedings of CHI 2004 (pp. 695-702). New York: ACM. [PDF]

Fleetwood, M. D. & Byrne, M. D. (2002) Modeling icon search in ACT-R/PM. Cognitive Systems Research, 3, 25-33.

Byrne, M. D., (2001). ACT-R/PM and menu selection: Applying a cognitive architecture to HCI. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 55, 41-84.

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