AVA Awards Recipients Report - Katharina Zeiner

Geoffrey J. Burton Memorial Award

I was awarded this year's Geoffrey J. Burton Memorial Travel Award to present a poster titled 'Eye movements and reaction times for detecting monocular regions in binocularly viewed scenes' (Zeiner, Spitschen, May, Zhaoping & Harris) at this year's VSS annual meeting in Naples, Florida.
The poster was the result of a collaboration with Zhaoping Li and Keith May investigating whether monocular regions in binocular scenes might be comparable to ocular singletons in how they affect our visual search behaviour (both RT and eye-movements). An ocular singleton is an item in a monocular scene that is presented to the other eye than the rest of the scene. While we tend to not be conscious of it being presented to the other eye, an ocular singleton 'pops-out' from the rest of the scene. And it has been argued that monocular regions in binocular scenes pop-out in a similar fashion.

This collaboration was supported by the Advanced Course on Computational Neuroscience 09 Internship Scheme.

We found that while reaction times (similarly to ocular singletons) are lower when we are searching for a monocular target than when we are searching for a binocular target amongst binocular distractors and even more so than when searching for a binocular target when a monocular distractor is present.

With ocular singletons this pattern transfers to eye movements – a singleton target leads to a significantly higher proportion of first saccades towards the target. In our sample, however, we did not observe this pattern of results when participants were searching for a monocular target.

I had a very busy poster session and received a lot of constructive feedback and very useful comments on the design of a follow-up experiment.

As well as having a chance to present my poster, attending the meeting allowed me to meet other PhD students and Postdocs.

I believe that discussing your work with people from other, related, fields allows you to better understand the weaknesses and strengths of your methods. Moreover, working with people from different fields makes you understand the different approaches each field has to given problems and has been incredible valuable to my approach to my own research.

I had a great time at VSS this year and learned a lot and met a lot of very interesting people, some of which I will hopefully have the opportunity to collaborate with in the future.

I would like to thank the AVA for the award that made it possible for me to attend VSS.