Contact: Dr Filipe Cristino
Although our perception of the world seems faultless, only a very small fraction of our eye has a considerably high resolution. At any one time, only a small patch of our visual field - roughly the size of a thumbnail at arm’s length - is sharply in focus and detailed. Thus, how we perceive and interact with the world depends primarily upon how, where, when we move our eyes (up to 4 times per seconds). Information gathered at a gaze location is used to construct our ‘perceived world’ and to perform or help with the task in hand (e.g. reading, walking, driving). Out of the hundreds of thousands of fixated locations chosen on a daily basis, many seem unrelated to the conscious goal, e.g. while making a cup of coffee in the kitchen we may fixate on task-relevant items (kettle, cup, spoon, sugar etc.), but we will also fixate on irrelevant items (a newspaper on the counter, dishes in the sink, the sky through the window, etc). Using fixational eye movements (pupillometry and microsacades), state of the art lab eye tracking and VR technology we aim to better quantify eye fixations on relevant and irrelevant items and understand why we make such fixations when carrying out a specific task, but also investigate the extent to which ‘irrelevant’ fixations may shape unconsciously our behaviour at a later stage.