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Analysis of Visual Search Patterns with EMD Metric in Normalized Anatomical Space

Laura Dempere-Marco, Xiaopeng Hu, S.M. Ellis, D.M. Hansell, Guang-Zhong Yang

Journal Article
IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging
Volume 25
Issue 8

Eye movements provide important insight into the cognitive processes underlying the visual search tasks. For image understanding, although the visual search patterns of different observers while studying the same scene bear some common characteristics, the idiosyncrasy associated with individual observers provides both research opportunities and challenges. The aim of this paper is to study the spatial characteristics of visual search, together with the intrinsic visual features of the fixation points for comparing different visual search strategies. An analysis framework based on earth mover's distance (EMD) in normalized anatomical space is proposed, and the results are demonstrated with high resolution computed tomography (HRCT) images of the lungs. The study shows that through the effective use of both spatial and feature space representation, it is possible to untangle what appear to be uncorrelated fixation distribution patterns to reveal common visual search behaviors.

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