Looking to score: The dissociation of goal influence on eye movement and meta-attentional allocation in a complex dynamic natural scene

Shuichiro Taya, David Windridge, Magda Osman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


Several studies have reported that task instructions influence eye-movement behavior during static image observation. In contrast, during dynamic scene observation we show that while the specificity of the goal of a task influences observers' beliefs about where they look, the goal does not in turn influence eye-movement patterns. In our study observers watched short video clips of a single tennis match and were asked to make subjective judgments about the allocation of visual attention to the items presented in the clip (e.g., ball, players, court lines, and umpire). However, before attending to the clips, observers were either told to simply watch clips (non-specific goal), or they were told to watch the clips with a view to judging which of the two tennis players was awarded the point (specific goal). The results of subjective reports suggest that observers believed that they allocated their attention more to goal-related items (e.g. court lines) if they performed the goal-specific task. However, we did not find the effect of goal specificity on major eye-movement parameters (i.e., saccadic amplitudes, inter-saccadic intervals, and gaze coherence). We conclude that the specificity of a task goal can alter observer's beliefs about their attention allocation strategy, but such task-driven meta-attentional modulation does not necessarily correlate with eye-movement behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere39060
JournalPloS one
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jun 29


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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