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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Visual Attention Scanning

From Mind Hacks, of particular interest for anyone like myself, who is looking at new biometric methods for understanding the consumer in their multiple decision making contexts:

A remarkable study has just been published in the cognitive science journal Vision Research which may be the first genuine demonstration of brain scan 'mind reading'.

The study focuses on visual attention and particularly what is called 'covert visual attention' - the ability to mentally focus on something without moving your eyes.
For example, take the phrase 'cat x dog'. I want you to fix your eyes on the 'x' and keep them there, but then alter your concentration so you mentally focus on 'cat' and then 'dog' and back again.

Your eyes aren't moving but you can concentrate on different things in the scene you're looking at just by shifting your attention. This is called 'covert' visual attention because there is no obvious ('overt') bodily movement associated with it, it's a hidden ('covert') mental process... '

1 comment:

Herb Sorensen said...

This is dynamite stuff that shows that attentional focus and physical focus are in reality two different things. I'm sure "spies" and other covert operatives know how to "focus" on things, without actually, you know, focusing on them.

I wonder if the supposed ability for someone to sense that someone is observing them, could extend to to this covert focus?