Apr 16, 2020

A Mathematical Model of Exploration and Exploitation in Natural Scene Viewing

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Noa Malem-ShinitskiR. Engbert


Understanding the decision process underlying gaze control is an important question in cognitive neuroscience with applications in diverse fields ranging from psychology to computer vision. The decision for choosing an upcoming saccade target can be framed as a dilemma: Should the observer further exploit the information near the current gaze position or continue with exploration of other patches within the given scene? While several models attempt to describe the dynamics of saccade target selection, none of them explicitly addresses the underlying Exploration--Exploitation dilemma. Here we propose and investigate a mathematical model motivated by the Exploration--Exploitation dilemma in scene viewing. The model is derived from a minimal set of assumptions that generates realistic eye movement behavior. We implemented a Bayesian approach for model parameter inference based on the model's likelihood function. In order to simplify the inference, we applied data augmentation methods that allowed the use of conjugate priors and the construction of an efficient Gibbs sampler. This approach turned out to be numerically efficient and permitted fitting interindividual differences in saccade statistics. Thus, the main contribution of o...Continue Reading

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