How do we use the past to predict the future in oculomotor search?

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    temporal evidence accumulation approaches such as the LATERmodel (Carpenter & Williams, 1995), shorter saccade latenciescould be due (among other things) to an increased prior expecta-tion about a targets location. Carpenter and Williams (1995) andCarpenter (2004) found that when a target had a spatial bias to ap-pear in one location more often than another, saccadic latencieswere reduced to the high probability location. This was explained

    These saccadic latency and choice experiments suggest that the

    probability regions, a bias to attend the previous target location(an effect dubbed transient facilitation, or location priming) couldperhaps account for apparent learning of spatial biases (Shore &Klein, 2000; Walthew & Gilchrist, 2006). In one experiment, Wal-thew and Gilchrist (2006) sought evidence that we could learn aspatial bias if the location repetition confound was removed. Ifwe could, then search should have been facilitated in high proba-bility regions even if location repeats never occurred. While theydid not discount a role for statistical learning in overt search, theirdata did not support any spatial bias learning effect above and be-yond that caused by transient facilitation.

    E-mail address: b.t.vincent@dundee.ac.uk

    Vision Research 74 (2012) 93101

    Contents lists available at

    Re

    .e lURL: http://www.inferencelab.commore accurate saccadic targeting (Peterson & Kramer, 2001). Sim-ilar spatial expectations can be elicited by pictures of naturalscenes (Eckstein, Drescher, & Shimozaki, 2006; Neider & Zelinsky,2006; Torralba et al., 2006).

    Saccade latencies also provide insight into saccadic planning: in

    occulomotor system can track (or at least receives input from asystem that can) target location statistics, also termed a spatialbias or 1st order statistics. However, the ability to learn spatialbiases has been questioned in other experimental paradigms. Be-cause target location repetitions are more likely to occur in highagain leads to lower search times (Chun & Jiang, 1998) through

    ment of simple distracter shapes, seeing that distracter context bining internal spatial predictions with visual evidence.Transient facilitation

    1. Introduction

    When we conduct visual search wof information: presently availablebased upon the past. While we mreal-world search, this study focussenisms underlying saccadic targeting.past can inuence search in a varietyand Klein (2000), Woodman and CMunoz (2003)). One notable examplwhen a targets location is predicta0042-6989/$ - see front matter 2012 Elsevier Ltd. Ahttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.visres.2012.08.001use at least two classescues, and predictionsupon both factors inthe predictive mecha-ear that memory of thes (see reviews by Shore006), and Fecteau anden in contextual cuing:en particular arrange-

    as changes in initial activation levels of each location, in otherwords, past experience of a targets previous spatial locations con-tributed to a prediction of where the next target would occur.

    But can these internal predictions be combined with ambiguousvisual cues of a targets location? Liston and Stone (2008) used asaccadic choice task where subjects tried to xate a luminance-dened target where the probability of the target being on the leftor right of xationwasmanipulated. Oculometric functions showedthat as the visual discriminability decreased, therewas an increasedchance to xate the high probability location. This study was nota-ble for showing that saccadic decisions were the outcome of com-Sequential effectsPriming

    a complex, changeable world. 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.How do we use the past to predict the fu

    Benjamin T. VincentSchool of Psychology, University of Dundee, UK

    a r t i c l e i n f o

    Article history:Received 16 January 2012Received in revised form 26 May 2012Available online 15 August 2012

    Keywords:Visual searchPredictionEye movementsSpatial priorVisual attentionBayesian inference

    a b s t r a c t

    A variety of ndings suggerelated to a targets locatitracks the statistics of theand four models are assessducted a simple gaze-contibinations of 1st and 2nd ogoverning target behaviourone location to another, aassumption that the worl1 h of exposure to unchangimental contexts, it may be

    Vision

    journal homepage: wwwll rights reserved.re in oculomotor search?

    at when conducting visual search, we can exploit cues that are statisticallyBut is this the result of heuristic mechanisms or an internal model thatvironment? Here, connections are made between the two explanations,o probe the mechanisms underlying prediction in search. Participants con-nt search task with ve conditions, each of which consists of different com-r statistics. Peoples exploration behaviour adapted to the statistical ruleshaviour was most consistent with a model that represents transitions fromthat makes the underlying assumption that the world is dynamic. Thischangeable could not be overridden despite task instruction and nearlystatistics. This means that while people may be suboptimal in some exper-cause their internal mental model makes assumptions that are adaptive in

    SciVerse ScienceDirect

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  • torcapacitor circuit proposed by Maljkovic and Nakayama (1996),

    qn 1 kqn1 I: 2One important difference with this equation is that if k = 0 then noinformation about the past is discarded and the model amounts tokeeping a running frequency count of where targets occur in thepast, this in turn would cause q to be the maximum likelihood esti-mate of p (Anderson & Goodman, 1957). Eq. (2) with k = 0 would bean optimal way of updating beliefs if the world was static, wheretarget behaviours do not change over time.

    To summarise, the second aim of this work is to examinewhether people assume the world is static or dynamic. This isimportant because if the world is static, then maintaining theassumption that the world is dynamic would lead to a sub-optimaluse of observations. This is simply because estimates of long runrelative frequencies are being made from a smaller sample. As wellas examining if people can learn 1st and 2nd order statistics, thiswork assesses peoples assumptions about living whether theyare observing a static world (Eq. (2), with k = 0) or dynamic world(Eq. (1), where k is a free parameter).

    Experiment 1 answers these questions by comparing searchbehaviour of four models (see Fig. 1) that can either represent spa-tial locations (a 1st order model) or transitions (a 2nd order mod-el). Additionally, both types of models are tested with theassumption that the environmental statistics are static, or dy-namic. Five different search conditions are used in order to see

    searRecent work suggests that we can in fact learn spatial biases.Druker and Anderson (2010) drew targets from a continuous distri-bution across the screen, rather than a few discreet locations: thisafforded a strong spatial bias but a near-zero chance of locationrepetitions on consecutive trials. The found that a chromatic dis-crimination task was faster in high probability regions and con-cluded that we can learn and utilise spatial probabilitiesgoverning a targets location. Jones and Kaschak (2012) addressedsome methodological concerns of the experiments by Walthewand Gilchrist (2006) and in a modied replication, they showedthat rst saccades were directed more often to a high probabilityside of the display, even in the absence of location repeats.

    If 1st order statistics dene the probability of where a target oc-curs in space, 2nd order statistics describe this spatial probability,but dependent upon the previous target location. As such, they sta-tistically describe how targets move over time, how they transitionfrom one location to another. Nummela, Lovejoy, and Krauzlis(2008) used a Markov model to probabilistically determine a re-warded location, contingent upon the previous rewarded location.Peoples saccades were directed to each location roughly in propor-tion to the probability that a location would be rewarded, despiteno visual cues being available indicating that they had learnt these2nd order trial-to-trial contingencies to a certain degree. There isalso evidence from within-trial saccadic targeting that 2nd orderstatistics can be learnt. Farrell et al. (2009) showed within-trialinhibition of return is abolished by manipulating the environmen-tal statistics to make location repetitions more likely. Within atemporal evidence accumulation approach, they found evidencethat changing the environmental statistics caused changes inthreshold activation: in their model this was indistinguishablefrom altered baseline activations, i.e. prior expectations adaptedto the environmental statistics.

    If peoples internal model of the world only represents spatiallocations, then they should be capable of learning 1st order statis-tics. However, to learn the 2nd order statistics of how targets moveover time would require a more complex internal representationthat can encode transition probabilities. The rst aim of this workis to examine whether we can learn these 1st or 2nd order statis-tics, which in turn allows us to infer the nature of the internal pre-dictive model (see Fig. 1). While there is a suggestion that we learn1st and 2nd order statistics simultaneously (also see Wilder, Jones,& Mozer, 2009; Yu & Cohen, 2009), these are investigated sepa-rately here.

    A second aim of this work is to examine the mechanismunderlying how we update our predictive model based on pastexperience. One pertinent model was proposed by Maljkovicand Nakayama (1996) who examined location priming in a vi-sual discrimination task. Reaction time benets were seen on tri-als where the target repeated its location. Because thesetransient facilitatory effects persisted over the experiment de-spite not being benecial, Maljkovic and Nakayama (1996) con-cluded that they were caused by a robust mechanism thatmust be benecial in other more typical situations. They pro-posed a resistorcapacitor circuit model where the activity of aunit increases every time a target occurs at the correspondinglocation, but all activity decays over time.

    It is worth noting that the resistorcapacitor model proposed byMaljkovic and Nakayama (1996) bears remarkable similarity to aleaky integration model proposed by Anderson and Carpenter(2006). They examined how prior expectations in saccadic choiceare updated based upon past experiences. By changing the spatialprobabilities at a particular point during a block of trials, saccadelatencies were observed to change according to the new spatial po-

    94 B.T. Vincent / Vision Resition bias. The time-course of this change indicated the rate (k) atwhich old observations of spatial bias were overturned in favour ofmore recent observations. If the real spatial probabilities are de-ned by p, then their leaky-integrator model estimated these witha set of activities q with the following update equation:

    qn 1 kqn1 kI: 1Here, I is a vector of inputs which increased unit activity by 0 (atdistracter locations) or 1 (at target locations). This update equationis a rational way to update beliefs if one assumes the world is dy-namic, that is, that there is a belief that the probabilities governinga targets location change (see Anderson & Carpenter, 2006). Thiscan be compared to the very similar update equation of a resis-

    Fig. 1. Conceptual overview of prediction in search with the four models examined.Spatial biases could be learnt with a simple level of activity for each spatial location(4 in this case). Representing movement over time requires a representation of4 4 units to represent all possible transitions. This is schematically represented byunits encoding a targets location on trial t location (row) and on trial t 1(column). If one assumes the world is static, then the models amount to keeping arunning frequency count. However, if one assumes the world is dynamic, activity inthe representational units decays, such that there is a balance between more recentand more historic observations.

    ch 74 (2012) 93101which model provides the most robust account of peoples occulo-motor search behaviour over a range of different sets of environ-mental statistics. Experiment 2 exposed people to nearly 1 h of

  • remained green for 1.5 s to aid short term memory of the targets

    searlocation on that trial. After this time, the screen was blanked, leav-ing only a central xation blob, ready for the next trial to begin.

    2.1.4. Experimental conditionsA Markov chain was used to determine the targets locationsearching in the presence of an unchanging spatial bias. Given thisempirical observation of unchanging statistics and task instructionthat target behaviour will not change, can we overcome theassumption that the world is dynamic in order to maximiseperformance?

    2. Experiment 1

    2.1. Methods

    2.1.1. ParticipantsTen undergraduates with normal or corrected to normal vision

    participated in the study for course credit. Participants searched inve blocks of 100 trials in 1 session each. Conditions (blocks) wererun in a random order. No participants were excluded fromanalysis.

    Participants were informed that they must locate a target andthat its location may be guided by a hidden rule. They were toldthat this rule was probabilistic, so it is impossible to predict thetargets location with complete certainty even if they correctlyguessed the underlying rules. In contrast to Nummela, Lovejoy,and Krauzlis (2008), explicitly understanding of the rule was notassessed. Participants were instructed to do their best to predictwhere the target would appear next and to attempt to explorethe locations in order of most likely to less likely. Importantly, theywere informed that during an experimental blocks, the rule did notchange.

    2.1.2. EquipmentStimuli were displayed on a CRT monitor with resolution set to

    1280 1024 and refresh rate of 85 Hz. The room was held in con-stant dim lighting conditions. A chin-rest resulted in a stable view-ing distance of 63.5 cm. An SR Research Eyelink 1000 eye trackerwas used to track the position of the right eye. A 9-point calibra-tion procedure was used at the start of each experimental block:calibration was repeated if a spatial accuracy worse than 0.5was obtained. Default parameters were used in the saccade andxation detection algorithm provided by SR Research.

    2.1.3. Stimuli and procedurePeople rst had a practice session of 50 trials where the target

    location was unpredictable (condition 1). The data recorded fromthis practice session was discarded. The experiment consisted of5 blocks, 1 of each condition, conducted in a randomised orderfor each participant. Fig. 2 shows the trial structure. Each trialstarted with a requirement to xate a central point. One and a halfseconds later, this point disappeared and four white squares (1height and width) appeared along the screen diagonals, 7 fromscreen centre. People then were free to visually search the display:when the participants xation position was within 2 of one of thefour placeholders, the contents of that location was revealed. If adistracter location was being xated, that placeholder squareturned red, and only turned back to white after the gaze positionleft the threshold distance. If xation was within threshold dis-tance of the target, the white placeholder turned green and a soundwas played to indicate successfully nding the target. The target

    B.T. Vincent / Vision Reover time. This Markov chain had four states that represented eachof the four possible spatial locations that the target could occupy.The initial location of a target in the rst trial was chosen uni-formly randomly, and the target then subsequently had a probabil-ity of pij = P(xt = jjxt1 = i) from moving from location i to location j.These transition probabilities p were dened for each condition asshown in Fig. 2b. Over each block of 100 trials, the target locationswere dened as x = x1,x2, . . . ,x100.

    Condition 1 had entirely random, unpredictable target locationbehaviour in order to measure peoples default search behaviour.Based on previous ndings it is predicted that people will displaya bias to reinspect previous target locations.

    If transient facilitation was the result of a hard-wired, non-adaptive mechanism, target location reinspections would persistregardless of the environmental statistics. So in condition 2, targetsnever repeated their location, and in condition 3 targets repeatedon 50% of trials (twice chance levels of 25%). This will distinguishbetween a hard-wired vs. an adaptive mechanism underlyingocculomotor prediction.

    In condition 4, targets exhibit a spatial bias to appear on oneside of the screen 80% of the time. By examining explorationbehaviour conditional upon previous target location, we can seeto what extent transient facilitation (location priming) isresponsible.

    Condition 5 is akin to the manipulations by Walthew and Gil-christ (2006) and Nummela, Lovejoy, and Krauzlis (2008): Targetsstill have an overall spatial bias (occurring on one side of the screen80% of the time) but targets never repeat their previous location.This allows one to separate any effects of adapting to the statisticalstructure of the environment (which requires learning 2nd orderstatistics) from location repetitions.

    Conditions 4 and 5 had an 80:20 spatial bias to one side of thescreen. The high probability side was randomised for each subject,but was taken into account in the analysis such that location 1 and2 represent the high probability locations.

    2.1.5. AnalysesAn exploration sequence was determined for each search trial.

    Saccade landing positions within 2 radius of an item was countedas an exploration. Multiple consecutive explorations of the samelocation were collapsed to a single exploration. Any saccade land-ing outside of the 2 threshold did not contribute to the explorationsequence. Initial central xation was removed leaving the rst en-try in the exploration sequence as the rst location actively ex-plored by the participant.

    Peoples search behaviour was quantied into a rst explorationmatrix, fi,j which was dened as the number of times that a targetwas previously in location i, followed by a rst exploration in loca-tion j. This measure could then be compared to rst explored loca-tions produced by either the probabilistic or the mechanisticmodels described below. This measure aims to capture the locationin which participants think the target is most likely to occur in.

    The rst exploration matrix does not capture how search mayunfold in cases where the target was not located on the rst explo-ration. A simple search prole was calculated, capturing the pro-portion of trials in which either 1, 2, 3, or 4 explorations wererequired to locate the target.

    2.1.6. ModelsFour models were examined, see Fig. 1. Each model was ex-

    posed to a series of 100 trials (as were the participants) wherethe target locations x were sampled from the transition probabili-ties p. The models have a number of units with a level of activity, q.For the 1st order models there were four internal units, and the2nd order models had 16 units representing each possible transi-tion. The models assuming the world was static was updated using

    ch 74 (2012) 93101 95Eq. (2) where k is xed at zero. This amounts to these models keep-ing a running frequency count of each location or frequency. Themodels assuming the world was dynamic were updated using Eq.

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    Fig. 2. Experimental procedures. The trial structure used in Experiments 1 and 2 is sexperiment. Each trial continued until participants located the target. The statisticsexamined. The normalised sum of each row of the transition probabilities gives the ovat one location on every trial.0

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    96 B.T. Vincent / Vision Remodel predictions (not parochial to one individual target locationsequence) this was repeated 50,000 times per condition.

    The static models have no free parameters, whereas the dy-namic models have 1 free parameter, the leak rate which was as-sessed over the range 0 6 k < 1. The model predictions presentedof dynamic models were those corresponding to the maximumlikelihood leak rate. The log likelihood of the parameters giventhe data is calculated using the multinomial distribution, summinglikelihoods over each location and previous target location, j

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    This compares the rst xation counts f to set of model predictionsexpressed as proportions. These predictions mij were dened as theproportion of times a model rst explored location jwhen the targetwas in location i on the previous trial.

    3. Results

    3.1. Exploration behaviour and model predictions

    Fig. 3 shows rst exploration behaviour (points and 95% con-dence intervals) for each condition. These are also compared tomodel predictions (grey bars). In condition 1, people demonstratedslight transient facilitation in that they were more likely to rst ex-plore the targets location on the previous trial. The fact that this isnot adaptive, as targets are unpredictable, is consistent with thendings of Maljkovic and Nakayama (1996). In condition 2, targetsnever repeated their previous location, and people exhibited tran-sient inhibition, or negative location priming. In condition 3, targetsrepeated their location on 50% of trials and people exhibited ahigher level of transient facilitation than in condition 1. In condi-tion 4, peoples rst explorations were more adaptive if the targetwas previously on the high probability side: they showed transientfacilitation and a generally higher total probability of rst explor-ing the high probability side. If the target was previously on thelow probability side, exploration behaviour was mixed, but witha subtle indication of remaining transient facilitation. Transient

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    ch 74 (2012) 93101facilitation however was not present in condition 5 where targetsnever repeated their previous location (just as in condition 2). In-stead, there was a high chance that people would rst explorethe high probability side, regardless of the targets previouslocation.

    Examining the model predictions (Fig. 3, grey bars), shows thatall models predict a degree of transient facilitation in conditions 1and 3. Models that represent transitions predicted the transientinhibition, however the 2nd order static model predicted zerolook-backs and the 2nd order dynamic model accurately capturedthe partial transient inhibition that people exhibited. In conditions4 and 5 the 1st order models provided poor qualitative ts to peo-ples exploration behaviour.

    3.2. Quantitative model evaluation

    Fig. 4 (top) shows quantitative evaluation of the models. Eachmodel was evaluated in terms of a likelihood measure (see Meth-ods), but because the models with the static assumption have 0parameters while the dynamic models have 1 parameter, the like-lihood score was transformed using the Akaike Information Crite-rion (AIC measure), dened as AIC = 2k 2ln(L), where L is thelikelihood and k is the number of free parameters (Akaike, 1974,Burnham & Anderson, 2004). This AIC measure penalises modelswith more parameters and so the model ts can be compared eventhough they have different numbers of parameters. The AIC valuesshown in Fig. 4 have been normalised relative to a control modelthat explores uniformly randomly. Therefore models with negative

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    B.T. Vincent / Vision Rescores account for peoples rst exploration behaviour better thanchance, and the lower the AIC value the better.

    There is variation in model ts, for example all models are bet-ter than chance as explanations for search in condition 3, but only1 model is better than chance in condition 5. The most importantresult is that the only model that is (a) consistently better thanchance, and (b) comes rst or joint rst place, is the model thatrepresents 2nd order statistics and that assumes the world isdynamic.

    4. Experiment 2

    While the results of Experiment 1 indicate that we can learn2nd order statistics, and that we do assume the world is dynamic,Experiment 2 saught to explore this further. More specically, is itpossible for people to maximise exploration performance byassuming the world is stationary when they are (a) informed thatit is unchanging, and (b) when they have rst hand observations ofthe unchanging rule over nearly 1 h of exploration time. If peoplecan treat the world as static then they should be able to quicklylearn to always visit the high probability locations rst (see dashedblue lines in Fig. 5). But if not, simulations predict that rst explo-

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    Fig. 3. First exploration behaviour of participants in Experiment 1 under ve different seare shown (circles) as a function of the targets previous location (shown in bold on x-axGrey bars represent the predictions of each model. Filled circles highlight rst exploring tof target located on the nth exploration alongside predictions of the 2nd order dynamictransition3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4

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    ch 74 (2012) 93101 97rations to high probability locations should increase to a steadystate between 80% and 100% of the time.

    4.1. Methods

    Seven participants were run in ve consecutive blocks of 100trials, none were excluded from analysis. Instructions to the partic-ipants were identical to Experiment 1 with one exception. Theywere informed that the rule governing target behaviour would re-main the same throughout the entire experiment. They were notinformed what this behaviour would be, but they were exposedto condition 4 (an 80:20 spatial bias) over all blocks.

    4.2. Results

    4.2.1. Model evaluationModel ts (Fig. 4, bottom)again vary in their ability to account for

    peoples exploration behaviour, but a number of important pointsemerge. The 2nd order dynamic model was again the only modelthat could account for search behaviour better than a control modelover all subjects. However, subjects 1, 2, 5, and 6were best t by the1st order dynamicmodel. So the results of Experiments 1 and2wereconsistent in their support for people assuming the world is dy-

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    ts of environmental statistics. The probability of people rst exploring locations 14is). Error bars show 95% condence intervals based upon multinomial distributions.he previous target location. Search proles in the right column show the proportionmodel.

  • & Nakayama, 1994, 1996; McBride, Leonards, & Gilchrist, 2008).

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    98 B.T. Vincent / Vision Renamic. However, it seems that some people potentially representedspatial locations while some represented transitions.

    4.2.2. Exploration over timeFig. 5 shows an analysis of search over all ve blocks. The mea-

    sure used was the proportion of rst explorations that were direc-ted to one of the high probability locations. The dashed blue lineshows the 20-trial moving average of the 1st order static model ex-posed to the exact same target sequence that the participants saw.If people behaved according to this model, then they should be ableto rapidly learn to always visit of the high probability locationsrst. However while some of the participants did so often, nonemanaged to do this all of the time. Solid black lines show the 20-trial moving average of the observers behaviour. Grey lines andshaded grey regions show mean and 95% condence intervals ofthe proportion for each block.

    Based on other simulations, on average the models should rap-idly reach between 80% and 100% rst explorations to the highprobability side. Anything below this is was not explicable in termsof this model.

    The key point here is that none of the participants consistentlyalways looked at the high probability region rst, and so there isnot much support for the idea that these subjects, under these con-ditions, managed to override their assumption that the world wasdynamic.

    peated their location 50% of the time (condition 3) but was re-

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    Fig. 4. Quantitative model evaluation. Fit of each of the four models (see legend) tosearch behaviour in ve conditions is shown for Experiment 1 (top). Model ts toindividual participants behaviour in blocks 35 of Experiment 2 are shown(bottom). Error bars represent 95% condence intervals, obtained using a bootstrapprocedure on the participants exploration behaviour. Maximum likelihood leakrates for the dynamic models are shown. versed (showing transient inhibition) when targets never

    repeated their location (condition 2). When there is a spatial bias(condition 4) people explored high probability locations rst andthere was somewhat of a transient repetition effect. However,when there was an identical spatial bias but no location repeats(condition 5), it was clear that search prioritised the non-repeatinghigh probability location: a result that could not have been ex-plained by transient facilitation. Overall, the results are consistentwith the notion that we can adapt to the prevailing statistics of theenvironment (Anderson & Carpenter, 2006; Druker & Anderson,2010; Farrell et al., 2009; Geng & Behrmann, 2005; Jones & Kas-chak, 2012; Miller, 1988; Nummela, Lovejoy, & Krauzlis, 2008;Shaw & Shaw, 1977).

    5.3. 1st vs. 2nd order statistics

    In Experiment 1, the model which was able to learn 2nd orderstatistics was the best, most robust account of human explorationbehaviour over all conditions (see Fig. 4a). These results supportprevious ndings that we can learn transition probabilities in a be-tween-trial context (Nummela, Lovejoy, & Krauzlis, 2008) or awithin-trial context (Farrell et al., 2009). In Experiment 2, the re-sults are less clear cut: Fig. 4b shows that some people act as if theyare just learning 1st order statistics and some act as if they learn2nd order statistics. This may be a false distinction however. Learn-The gaze contingent search task used here excluded visual cuesfrom contributing at the start of search and only played a role asitems were xed (see Fig. 2). This slightly decreases the ecologicalvalidity, but any adaptive oculomotor search behaviours can beattributed exclusively to the past location of targets and the statis-tical rules governing their behaviour. The results presented are notsufcient to show that these predictions could have been com-bined with visual evidence had it been available. However, it seemsentirely plausible as Liston and Stone (2008) did nd this to be thecase. It was also found in a covert search paradigm that visual evi-dence was able to be combined in a near-optimal manner withspatial predictions (Vincent, 2011). This does not imply that thesame holds for overt search however.

    5.2. People adapt their occulomotor exploration to the statistics of theenvironment

    Participants in Experiment 1 searched in a manner indicatingthat they were able to learn both 1st and 2nd order statistics thatgoverned target location behaviour and search in an adaptive man-ner even within very short search blocks of 100 trials. Peoples de-fault behaviour in an unpredictable environment was one oftransient facilitation, consistent with Maljkovic and Nakayama(1996). This transient facilitation was amplied when targets re-5. General discussion

    5.1. Combining predictions and observations

    In order to focus upon the nature in which top-down predic-tions are made based upon previous target locations it is necessaryto avoid confounds from the feature properties of targets anddistracters. It is known from visual priming experiments that thefeature identity of targets and distracters, and location interact incomplex ways (Campana & Casco, 2009; Hillstrom, 2000; Huang,Holcombe, & Pashler, 2004; Kristjansson & Driver, 2008; Maljkovic

    ch 74 (2012) 93101ing the 2nd order statistics also captures the 1st order statistics.However, doing so requires the estimation of 16 transition proba-bilities as opposed to only 4 spatial probabilities. So a sensible

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    B.T. Vincent / Vision Restrategy would be to simultaneously track both 1st and 2nd orderstatistics (see Wilder, Jones, & Mozer, 2009; Yu & Cohen, 2009).

    5.4. Belief in a constant vs. a changing world

    In Experiment 1, it was clear that the best account of explora-tion behaviour was given by a model that assumes the world is dy-namic. This assumption means that information from the past isgradually forgotten in favour of new information. Clearly this isuseful if the world is actually dynamic (Anderson & Carpenter,2006), but results in suboptimal performance if the world is actu-ally unchanging. This is simply because if old information decaysthen one simply has a smaller sample size from which to calculatelong run relative frequencies.

    Are we constrained to make suboptimal predictions in staticenvironments? Experiment 2 tested to see if we could overcomethe dynamic world assumption if people were told the statisticsunderlying target behaviour does not change, and through directexperience of searching in a static world. Fig. 4b shows that across

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    Fig. 5. Time-course of exploration behaviour in Experiment 2. Over ve blocks of an 80:2the proportion of rst explorations to the a high probability location. This measure for ththe subjects were able to consistently always explore the high probability region rst. Gretime

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    ch 74 (2012) 93101 99seven subjects, the models that account for exploration the best arethose that assume the world is dynamic.

    Fig. 5 also shows that, under the conditions tested, all observersfailed to explore in a manner consistent with assuming the worldwas static. These results certainly do not prove that it is impossible,but it did not happen despite task instruction and nearly 1 h worthof searching.

    This may have implications for optimal observer modelling. Onereason why suboptimal learning may be observed (e.g. Droll,Abbey, & Eckstein, 2009) is because we are suboptimal for experi-mental situations with unchanging statistics and are insteadoptimised to a dynamic changing world.

    5.5. Insights into transient facilitation

    Experiment 1 showed that transient facilitation seemed to be adefault strategy. This was amplied when it was appropriate (con-dition 3) and attenuated when targets never repeated their previ-ous location (conditions 2 and 5). Maljkovic and Nakayama (1996)

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    0 probability bias (condition 4) solid black lines show the 20-trial moving average ofe predictions of the 1st order static model is shown in the dashed blue line. None ofy lines and shaded regions showmeans and 95% condence intervals for each block.

  • searel, that causes transient facilitation which is useful in some real-world search situations. It is interesting to reinterpret transientfacilitation in the light of the approach of Anderson and Carpenter(2006) who describe a very similar model (a leaky integrator)framed in terms of our beliefs of how changeable the world is.Fig. 6 shows the results of the location only, dynamic model to50,000 simulated blocks of random target movement behaviour(condition 1). Plotted are the prior probabilities (activations q,transformed by the softmax operation) of the target to repeat itslocation n trials back in the past. This was done using Eq. (1) fora range of k parameters. As the leak rate increases (discountingthe past more rapidly) the transient facilitation effect increasesin magnitude and decreases in duration. While this result couldbe argued to simply provide quantitative support to the predic-tions of Maljkovic and Nakayama (1996), I would argue that com-bining it with the insights of Anderson and Carpenter (2006)allows one to explain transient facilitation not as the result of anarbitrary heuristic mechanism, but as a by-product of assumingthe world is changeable.

    5.6. Conclusionproposed that this could be the result of a resistorcapacitor mod-

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    Fig. 6. The relation between transient facilitation and the rate of discounting thepast. This simulation was of the model representing spatial locations only, with theassumption that the world is dynamic. Results for ve different leak rates k areshown.

    100 B.T. Vincent / Vision RePeople conducted a gaze contingent visual search task with novisual cues as to the targets location. This was only available oncean item location was xated, and the only way how search couldbecome more efcient was for the participants to learn any under-lying rules governing the targets location behaviour over time. Fivedifferent sets of statistical rules were examined with a mixture of1st and 2nd order statistics. It was found that exploration behav-iour of participants adapted to make search more efcient in allve search conditions. This suggests that people are able to learnboth 1st and 2nd order statistics, supportive of previous ndings.The present work strengthened this case by showing that explora-tion behaviour adapts to many different kinds of environmentalstatistics. This was further supported by the ability of a 2nd ordermodel to account for peoples exploration behaviour.

    The results also suggest that peoples internal predictive modelsmake the assumption that the world is dynamic. This was shownboth in Experiment 1 where a 2nd order dynamic model providedconsistently good accounts of exploration behaviour, but a 2nd or-der static model did not. This assumption that the world is change-able may also account for some previously observed transientfacilitatory effects. Experiment 2 also showed that, despite taskinstructions that the target statistics would not change and direct

    Journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 28, 1386613875.

    Journal of Experimental psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 14, 453.Neider, M. B., & Zelinsky, G. J. (2006). Scene context guides eye movements duringvisual search. Vision Research, 46, 614621.Nummela, S. U., Lovejoy, L. P., & Krauzlis, R. J. (2008). Saccade selection when

    reward probability is dynamically manipulated using Markov chains.Experimental Brain Research, 187, 321330.

    Peterson, M., & Kramer, A. (2001). Attentional guidance of the eyes by contextualinformation and abrupt onsets. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 63,12391249.

    Shaw, M. L., & Shaw, P. (1977). Optimal allocation of cognitive resources to spatiallocations. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance,Maljkovic, V., & Nakayama, K. (1994). Priming of pop-out: I. Role of features.Memory & Cognition, 22, 657672.

    Maljkovic, V., & Nakayama, K. (1996). Priming of pop-out: II. The role of position.Perception & Psychophysics, 58, 977991.

    McBride, J., Leonards, U., & Gilchrist, I. D. (2008). Flexible target representationsunderlie repetition priming in visual search. Visual Cognition, 17, 655678.

    Miller, J. (1988). Components of the location probability effect in visual search tasks.experience of searching in such a static environment for nearly 1 h,occulomotor predictions were unable to act as if they believed theenvironmental statistics were static. This has implications for opti-mal observer modelling of human behaviour: when we step into asimplied experimental procedure we may nd it difcult to over-ride assumptions that serve us well in a complex dynamic world.

    Acknowledgments

    The author is grateful to Alexander Tan who collected the data,to Elaine Gray for feedback on an earlier version of the manuscript,and to two anonymous reviewers for constructive comments.

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    B.T. Vincent / Vision Research 74 (2012) 93101 101

    How do we use the past to predict the future in oculomotor search?1 Introduction2 Experiment 12.1 Methods2.1.1 Participants2.1.2 Equipment2.1.3 Stimuli and procedure2.1.4 Experimental conditions2.1.5 Analyses2.1.6 Models

    3 Results3.1 Exploration behaviour and model predictions3.2 Quantitative model evaluation

    4 Experiment 24.1 Methods4.2 Results4.2.1 Model evaluation4.2.2 Exploration over time

    5 General discussion5.1 Combining predictions and observations5.2 People adapt their occulomotor exploration to the statistics of the environment5.3 1st vs. 2nd order statistics5.4 Belief in a constant vs. a changing world5.5 Insights into transient facilitation5.6 Conclusion

    AcknowledgmentsReferences

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