Visual Search: Behavioral Experiments

Animals actively scan the environment to collect useful bits of information. This prSetup system for behavioral experimentsocess, known as visual search, is highly studied in humans and animals. What attracts the visual gaze and how barn owls search for interesting stimuli are the main questions asked in this project. We combine kinematic measurements of head movements with tracking of gaze point. Experiments are performed in spontaneously behaving owls as well as with trained owls performing a controlled visual task on a computer screen. To measure the kinematics we attach infra-red reflectors to the owl’s head and track their position using a Vicon system. To follow in real-time the point of gaze of the owl a wireless miniature video camera is mounted on the head. Using these techniques, on-going experiments address the following topics: combining  visual  and auditory information for saliency mapping,  detection of camouflaged objects, pop-out perception and the role of active head motions in visual perception. Results from the behavioral experiments are combined with results from physiological experiments conducted in our lab to gain an understanding of visual search mechanisms in barn owls.

PROJECT LEADER: Tidhar Lev-Ari

Related article:

Project Poster from the ISFN conference 2016 (click to enlarge):

Behavioral evidence and neural correlates of motion perceptual grouping in the barn owl