About this item:

232 Views | 347 Downloads

Author Notes:

Correspondence: Elizabeth A. Buffalo ; Email: ebuffalo@uw.edu

EB designed research; SK analyzed the data; and SK and EB wrote the paper.

The authors would like to thank Esther Tonea and William Li for the creation of image sets and Megan Jutras for helping with collecting, organizing, and analyzing the behavioral data.

We would also like to thank Miriam Meister for designing the shift task and Kiril Staikov for collecting data from the shift task.

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.


Research Funding:

Funding for this work was provided by the National Institute of Mental Health Grants MH080007 (to EB) and MH093807 (to EB); National Center for Research Resources Grant P51RR165 (currently the Office of Research Infrastructure Programs/OD P51OD11132); and training grants DA032466 and DA032436 (to SK).


  • salience
  • bottom-up
  • attention
  • free viewing
  • random walk
  • natural behavior

Modeling Visual Exploration in Rhesus Macaques with Bottom-Up Salience and Oculomotor Statistics

Journal Title:

Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience


Volume 10


, Pages 23-23

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


There is a growing interest in studying biological systems in natural settings, in which experimental stimuli are less artificial and behavior is less controlled. In primate vision research, free viewing of complex images has elucidated novel neural responses, and free viewing in humans has helped discover attentional and behavioral impairments in patients with neurological disorders. In order to fully interpret data collected from free viewing of complex scenes, it is critical to better understand what aspects of the stimuli guide viewing behavior. To this end, we have developed a novel viewing behavior model called a Biased Correlated Random Walk (BCRW) to describe free viewing behavior during the exploration of complex scenes in monkeys. The BCRW can predict fixation locations better than bottom-up salience. Additionally, we show that the BCRW can be used to test hypotheses regarding specific attentional mechanisms. For example, we used the BCRW to examine the source of the central bias in fixation locations. Our analyses suggest that the central bias may be caused by a natural tendency to reorient the eyes toward the center of the stimulus, rather than a photographer's bias to center salient items in a scene. Taken together these data suggest that the BCRW can be used to further our understanding of viewing behavior and attention, and could be useful in optimizing stimulus and task design.

Copyright information:

© 2016 König and Buffalo.

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Export to EndNote