Understanding Novel Real World Scenes: Gist, Elaboration, and Uniqueness

Poster Presentation 53.339: Tuesday, May 23, 2023, 8:30 am – 12:30 pm, Banyan Breezeway
Session: Scene Perception: Categorization, memory, cognition

Khoa Nguyen1 (), Jong Han Lee1, Reilly Orman1, Lewis Evans1, Eve Felicien Griffith1, Thomas Sanocki1; 1University of South Florida

Research has documented the efficiency of rapid gist perception; however, the richer and more unique side of scene perception — aspects beyond gist — are only now being discovered. Here, we modified the Fei-Fei and Iyer 2007 full report method to optimize viewing and understanding. On each trial, a scene was presented briefly with no mask, followed by the observer reporting what they saw, using a keyboard. Recent experiments found that with 150 ms scene durations, most observers reported the gist, and much beyond: Varying amounts of elaboration of the scene, often including unique aspects. These unique aspects were valid, as confirmed against the scenes and included descriptions of people, actions, and scene structures. For each critical scene, over 40 distinctive aspects were reported (by 58 observers). Many of these aspects exemplify individual (or rare) perception. We now ask if the diverse, unique aspects are limited to the understanding of brief scenes, or more general, occurring when the scenes are viewed for a full 2 seconds. Perhaps brief perception is somewhat chaotic, and reports would converge with more viewing time. Alternatively, everyday perception may be strongly influenced by individual priorities and perspectives, resulting in reports that are rich and diverse. With a new sample of 44 observers, the novel scenes were presented, each for 2 sec followed immediately by full report. Initial analyses suggest that the reports are highly valid (as verified against the scene), and that observers again agreed on the gists. Observers reported even more elaboration, including large-scale and detailed aspects that appear to be distinctive and rare. These would be examples of individual perception. The results illustrate the complexity of scenes and human scene perception. Reference: Fei-Fei, Iyer, Koch, Perona. (2007). What do we perceive in a glance of a real-world scene? Journal of Vision, 7.