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Journal Article

Ocularity Feature Contrast Attracts Attention Exogenously

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Zhaoping, L. (2018). Ocularity Feature Contrast Attracts Attention Exogenously. Vision, 2(1): 12, pp. 1-23. doi:10.3390/vision2010012.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0002-64F1-D
An eye-of-origin singleton, e.g., a bar shown to the left eye among many other bars shown to the right eye, can capture attention and gaze exogenously or reflexively, even when it appears identical to other visual input items in the scene and when the eye-of-origin feature is irrelevant to the observer’s task. Defining saliency as the strength of exogenous attraction to attention, we say that this eye-of-origin singleton, or its visual location, is salient. Defining the ocularity of a visual input item as the relative difference between its left-eye input and its right-eye input, this paper shows the general case that an ocularity singleton is also salient. For example, a binocular input item among monocular input items is salient, so is a left-eye-dominant input item (e.g., a bar with a higher input contrast to the left eye than to the right eye) among right-eye-dominant items. Saliency by unique input ocularity is analogous to saliency by unique input colour (e.g., a red item among green ones), as colour is determined by the relative difference(s) between visual inputs to different photoreceptor cones. Just as a smaller colour difference between a colour singleton and background items makes this singleton less salient, so does a smaller ocularity difference between an ocularity singleton and background items. While a salient colour difference is highly visible, a salient ocularity difference is often perceptually invisible in some cases and discouraging gaze shifts towards it in other cases, making its behavioural manifestation not as apparent. Saliency by ocularity contrast provides another support to the idea that the primary visual cortex creates a bottom-up saliency map to guide attention exogenously.