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Conference Paper

Moment-to-Moment Detection of Internal Thought from Eye Vergence Behaviour


Huang,  Michael Xuelin
Computer Vision and Machine Learning, MPI for Informatics, Max Planck Society;

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Huang, M. X., Li, J., Ngai, G., Leong, H. V., & Bulling, A. (2019). Moment-to-Moment Detection of Internal Thought from Eye Vergence Behaviour. In MM '19 (pp. 2254-2262). New York, NY: ACM. doi:10.1145/3343031.3350573.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-2BF7-7
Internal thought refers to the process of directing attention away from a
primary visual task to internal cognitive processing. Internal thought is a
pervasive mental activity and closely related to primary task performance. As
such, automatic detection of internal thought has significant potential for
user modelling in intelligent interfaces, particularly for e-learning
applications. Despite the close link between the eyes and the human mind, only
a few studies have investigated vergence behaviour during internal thought and
none has studied moment-to-moment detection of internal thought from gaze.
While prior studies relied on long-term data analysis and required a large
number of gaze characteristics, we describe a novel method that is
computationally light-weight and that only requires eye vergence information
that is readily available from binocular eye trackers. We further propose a
novel paradigm to obtain ground truth internal thought annotations that
exploits human blur perception. We evaluate our method for three increasingly
challenging detection tasks: (1) during a controlled math-solving task, (2)
during natural viewing of lecture videos, and (3) during daily activities, such
as coding, browsing, and reading. Results from these evaluations demonstrate
the performance and robustness of vergence-based detection of internal thought
and, as such, open up new directions for research on interfaces that adapt to
shifts of mental attention.