Examining the influence of task set on eye movements and fixations

Mark Mills, Andrew Hollingworth, Stefan Van der Stigchel, Lesa Hoffman, Michael D. Dodd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


The purpose of the present study was to examine the influence of task set on the spatial and temporal characteristics of eye movements during scene perception. In previous work, when strong control was exerted over the viewing task via specification of a target object (as in visual search), task set biased spatial, rather than temporal, parameters of eye movements. Here, we find that more participant-directed tasks (in which the task establishes general goals of viewing rather than specific objects to fixate) affect not only spatial (e.g., saccade amplitude) but also temporal parameters (e.g., fixation duration). Further, task set influenced the rate of change in fixation duration over the course of viewing but not saccade amplitude, suggesting independent mechanisms for control of these parameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of vision
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2011


  • Active vision
  • Eye movements
  • Scene recognition
  • Search
  • Space and scene perception
  • Visual cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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