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The Roles of Vision and Eye Movements in the Control of Activities of Daily Living

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Submitted By niliej
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The roles of vision and eye movements in the control of activities of daily living

Michael Land, Neil Mennie, Jennifer Rusted; 1999

Experimental question:
Are eye movements essentially random, or are they intimately related to the requirements of the motor task?
Are fixations directed specifically to the places from which information is needed?
Can can the eye-movement pattern thus be thought of as an integral part of the motor program itself

Rationale:
The strategy of the oculomotor system is to keep the center of gaze very close to the point at which the info is extracted (few letters/notes etc)
Eye movements precede motor actions by a fraction of a sec (Ballard et al ‘92)
Specific movement for choosing block, checking its color and its position
Eye movements are very tightly coupled (time+space) with motor actions

What makes this study special:
Non-repetitive
40-50 acts to make a cup of tea each requires a new set of motor actions thus a new set of eye movements
Are eyes required to produce an action or are they called up when specific info is required? are they proactive or reactive
Natural setting (1st study ever to be conducted in every-day environment)
Tea making is a well-known activity
Does not require top-down feedback
Once learned occurs “automatically”

Methods:
3 subjects (male, 55; female, 28; male, 46)
Small university kitchen counter on the left of the door sink straight in front fridge on the left seen the kitchen before but place of utensils changed (so some searching was needed)
Small video camera clemped to the head (prev. used for driving studies)
Scene ahead + eye movements recorded
Later manipulations allowed to extract angular coordinates of eye movements
Accuracy of 1 degree
Eye tape + general tape synchronized (frame by frame) to determine timings of all actions - all better than 0.1s for all the 4 mins to make the tea

Results:
Smallest non-dividible functional actions (such as: find kettle; lift kettle; remove the lid etc) require on average 5.4 fixations (4.7-6.3 range)
Time relationship:
137 ORAs (3 records, m+m+f) were examined excluding actions occurring simultaneously
Times of first movement of the body; first saccade to relevant object; and first indication of limb movement to the object determined
Whole body movement → lead vision → lead to manipulative actions average of about 0.5 sec times taken from center point of new saccade to the center of the object
Start of trunk movement precedes saccades by ~ 0.61 sec, saccade precedes first sign of manipulation by ~ 0.56 sec.
Time between 2 eye gazes ~ 0.61 sec
Fixations:
Saccades and fixations are associated with particular aspects of the task
Inspection of 80 locations with corresponding fixation points showed that:
32 were directly located to the aspect of the task (since precedes by…...

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